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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Hein, Maria L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) began funding Individual Development Account (IDA) programs for low-income refugees in October 1999. The objectives of ORR’s IDA program are: 1) "to promote the participation of refugees in the financial institutions of this country;" and 2) "to assist refugees in purchasing assets to promote their economic self-sufficiency."

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement’s IDA program, as described in the 1999 Program Announcement (Federal Register, June, 9, 1999), is designed to help participants to purchase assets, as a means of increasing their financial independence. Program participants receive financial literacy training and have the opportunity to open a matched savings account. IDA program participants must save toward one of the following savings goals:

    • Homeownership or renovation;
    • Microenterprise capitalization;
    • Post-secondary education;
    • Vocational training or recertification;
    • Automobile purchase (if needed to maintain or upgrade employment)
    • Computer purchase (for one’s...

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) began funding Individual Development Account (IDA) programs for low-income refugees in October 1999. The objectives of ORR’s IDA program are: 1) "to promote the participation of refugees in the financial institutions of this country;" and 2) "to assist refugees in purchasing assets to promote their economic self-sufficiency."

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement’s IDA program, as described in the 1999 Program Announcement (Federal Register, June, 9, 1999), is designed to help participants to purchase assets, as a means of increasing their financial independence. Program participants receive financial literacy training and have the opportunity to open a matched savings account. IDA program participants must save toward one of the following savings goals:

    • Homeownership or renovation;
    • Microenterprise capitalization;
    • Post-secondary education;
    • Vocational training or recertification;
    • Automobile purchase (if needed to maintain or upgrade employment)
    • Computer purchase (for one’s education or microenterprise).

    At the time that funds are withdrawn for a qualifying asset purchase, the withdrawals are matched. Some of ORR’s IDA program grantees offer a 1:1 match (i.e., in these programs, an individual participant can have a maximum of $4,000 of their savings matched, receiving a $4,000 match, for a total of $8,000 toward their asset purchase). The remainder offer a 2:1 match (i.e., in these programs, an individual participant can have a maximum of $2,000 of their savings matched, receiving a $4,000 match, for a total of $6,000 toward their asset purchase).

    In order to qualify for ORR’s IDA program, a refugee (see footnote 1) must:

    • Have earned income
    • Have a household earned income that does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level (at the time of program enrollment)
    • Have assets that do not exceed $10,000 (at the time of enrollment), excluding the value of a primary residence.

    (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Mendenhall, Ruby; Edin, Kathryn; Crowley, Susan; Sykes, Jennifer; Tach, Laura; Kriz, Katrin; Kling, Jeffrey R.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    The annual receipt of large tax refunds, primarily due to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), provides families with an unusual opportunity to save and build assets. In 2007, we conducted a short survey, followed by in-depth interviews, with 194 African-American, Latino, and White parents who received the EITC, all with refunds of at least $1,000. The survey reveals that a sizable fraction planned to allocate a considerable portion of their refund to savings and assets. In-depth interviews conducted roughly six months later reveal that a significant minority did allocate a portion of their refund toward these purposes, though not as often as planned. Many other recipients have significant asset building goals, which they say are fueled by the expectation of ongoing annual tax refunds. (author abstract)

    The annual receipt of large tax refunds, primarily due to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), provides families with an unusual opportunity to save and build assets. In 2007, we conducted a short survey, followed by in-depth interviews, with 194 African-American, Latino, and White parents who received the EITC, all with refunds of at least $1,000. The survey reveals that a sizable fraction planned to allocate a considerable portion of their refund to savings and assets. In-depth interviews conducted roughly six months later reveal that a significant minority did allocate a portion of their refund toward these purposes, though not as often as planned. Many other recipients have significant asset building goals, which they say are fueled by the expectation of ongoing annual tax refunds. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Thomas, Hannah
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    This article reviews the depletion of financial assets that families in foreclosure experienced in Boston, Massachusetts. Drawing on 37 interviews with predominantly families of color in foreclosure around the City of Boston between 2007 and 2008, this article suggests that a critical process on the path to foreclosure is asset depletion that leads to asset exhaustion. Asset depletion is the process of using up savings and other liquid and nonliquid investment vehicles to cover day-to-day expenses when income is not enough to do so. In the case of foreclosure, asset depletion to the point of asset exhaustion is motivated by the significance of the home for the family. Even when a family does not lose its home to foreclosure, it loses critical stabilizing financial assets, leaving the family vulnerable to further economic shocks and less likely to achieve upward social mobility. This article explores the process of asset depletion that leads to asset exhaustion in foreclosure and the motivations that drive a family to deplete its assets to the point of exhaustion in foreclosure,...

    This article reviews the depletion of financial assets that families in foreclosure experienced in Boston, Massachusetts. Drawing on 37 interviews with predominantly families of color in foreclosure around the City of Boston between 2007 and 2008, this article suggests that a critical process on the path to foreclosure is asset depletion that leads to asset exhaustion. Asset depletion is the process of using up savings and other liquid and nonliquid investment vehicles to cover day-to-day expenses when income is not enough to do so. In the case of foreclosure, asset depletion to the point of asset exhaustion is motivated by the significance of the home for the family. Even when a family does not lose its home to foreclosure, it loses critical stabilizing financial assets, leaving the family vulnerable to further economic shocks and less likely to achieve upward social mobility. This article explores the process of asset depletion that leads to asset exhaustion in foreclosure and the motivations that drive a family to deplete its assets to the point of exhaustion in foreclosure, providing key insights for policymakers considering the implications of foreclosure for affected families' economic security and social mobility. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wiedrich, Kasey; Griffin, Kate; Chilton, Mariana; Lehman, Gretchen
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2014

    Studies show that low-income families are more likely to be unbanked and “underbanked” than families with higher earnings. Lacking a bank account or depending on alternative financial services leads to significant financial barriers for low-income families that hinder economic growth and social mobility. This session will evaluate strategies that local and state human services agencies are testing to equip TANF recipients with the financial knowledge and resources they need to overcome barriers to financial security, including ACF’s Asset Initiative Partnership. Gretchen Lehman (Administration for Children and Families) will moderate this session.

    • Financial Counseling and Financial Access for the Financially Vulnerable

    Kasey Wiedrich (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation examines financial management strategies among low-income families.  Two research studies are described: Children's HealthWatch and Witnesses to Hunger.

    • Building Economic Self-Sufficiency of TANF Clients Through Financial Education and Matched Savings

    ...

    Studies show that low-income families are more likely to be unbanked and “underbanked” than families with higher earnings. Lacking a bank account or depending on alternative financial services leads to significant financial barriers for low-income families that hinder economic growth and social mobility. This session will evaluate strategies that local and state human services agencies are testing to equip TANF recipients with the financial knowledge and resources they need to overcome barriers to financial security, including ACF’s Asset Initiative Partnership. Gretchen Lehman (Administration for Children and Families) will moderate this session.

    • Financial Counseling and Financial Access for the Financially Vulnerable

    Kasey Wiedrich (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation examines financial management strategies among low-income families.  Two research studies are described: Children's HealthWatch and Witnesses to Hunger.

    • Building Economic Self-Sufficiency of TANF Clients Through Financial Education and Matched Savings

    Kate Griffin (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation describes data from a financial education program for TANF recipients that provides training in budgeting and credit management.  The pilot was started in July 2013 with the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

    • Financial Management Strategies of TANF and SNAP Recipients: Lessons for Policy Makers and Administrators

    Mariana Chilton (Drexel University)

    The presentation describes a completed research project that looks at the impact of the AFCO financial counseling program for families leaving TANF and entering into a work-ready context.

    These presentations were given at the 2014 Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference (WREC).

  • Individual Author: Thomas, Hannah
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2014

    On September 25, 2014, the Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) featured Dr. Hannah Thomas in a Webinar titled "The Great Recession Hits Home: Asset Depletion and Foreclosure in Boston," with Dr. Curtis Skinner as a discussant. Despite general improvements in the economy, foreclosures continue to impact families and communities across the country. In this Webinar, Dr. Thomas explored the ways that foreclosure affects households, including finances, health, trust in lending institutions, and stability. Based on interviews with families in Boston, MA, Dr. Thomas relayed her findings as to why households in foreclosure often end up spending their hard-earned savings and wealth in a process of asset depletion.

    Dr. Thomas was the eighth Emerging Scholar, and was the featured Scholar for July-September 2014. Dr. Thomas received her Ph.D. in Social Policy and Sociology from The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in 2012. She is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at The Heller School.

    This...

    On September 25, 2014, the Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) featured Dr. Hannah Thomas in a Webinar titled "The Great Recession Hits Home: Asset Depletion and Foreclosure in Boston," with Dr. Curtis Skinner as a discussant. Despite general improvements in the economy, foreclosures continue to impact families and communities across the country. In this Webinar, Dr. Thomas explored the ways that foreclosure affects households, including finances, health, trust in lending institutions, and stability. Based on interviews with families in Boston, MA, Dr. Thomas relayed her findings as to why households in foreclosure often end up spending their hard-earned savings and wealth in a process of asset depletion.

    Dr. Thomas was the eighth Emerging Scholar, and was the featured Scholar for July-September 2014. Dr. Thomas received her Ph.D. in Social Policy and Sociology from The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in 2012. She is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at The Heller School.

    This document is a transcript of the Webinar. The recording from the Webinar as well as more information on Dr. Thomas and her work can be found here. The Powerpoint Presentation from the Webinar can be found here. A record of the question and answer session from Dr. Thomas's Webinar can be found here.

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