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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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The SSRC Library includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Ozawa, Martha N.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1995

    Initially a program to relieve the burdens of the social security tax on low-income taxpayers, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is rapidly becoming a major income support program for the working poor and their families.  This article discusses the effects of the EITC on the income status and work incentives of welfare families in New York City and Texas, assesses the distributive effect of the EITC, and investigates the extent to which the EITC helps welfare families escape poverty through work.  It then places the EITC in a broader policy perspective, describing its ripple effects on this country's treatment of the working poor versus the nonworking poor, support of children, and attempts to cope with the increasing disparity in the incomes of high-wage and low-wage workers. (author abstract)

    Initially a program to relieve the burdens of the social security tax on low-income taxpayers, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is rapidly becoming a major income support program for the working poor and their families.  This article discusses the effects of the EITC on the income status and work incentives of welfare families in New York City and Texas, assesses the distributive effect of the EITC, and investigates the extent to which the EITC helps welfare families escape poverty through work.  It then places the EITC in a broader policy perspective, describing its ripple effects on this country's treatment of the working poor versus the nonworking poor, support of children, and attempts to cope with the increasing disparity in the incomes of high-wage and low-wage workers. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ciurea, Michelle; Blain, Alexandra; DeMarco, Donna; Ly, Hong; Mills, Gregory
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This report describes the activities undertaken during Phase I of the congressionally-mandated evaluation of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA), which Abt Associates is conducting under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Act provides grants to qualified organizations to establish individual development accounts (IDAs) for low-income individuals. The savings deposited into these accounts are matched, through a combination of federal and nonfederal funds, when program participants withdraw their savings for home purchase, business capitalization, and postsecondary education.

    During the Phase I period, October 2000 through September 2001, significant progress occurred in the two components of the evaluation, the non-experimental impact study and the process study:

    • Non-experimental impact study: This research includes a multi-wave longitudinal survey of a randomly selected national sample of 600 AFIA program participants to assess the effects of program participation on low-income savings, asset accumulation, and other aspects of...

    This report describes the activities undertaken during Phase I of the congressionally-mandated evaluation of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA), which Abt Associates is conducting under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Act provides grants to qualified organizations to establish individual development accounts (IDAs) for low-income individuals. The savings deposited into these accounts are matched, through a combination of federal and nonfederal funds, when program participants withdraw their savings for home purchase, business capitalization, and postsecondary education.

    During the Phase I period, October 2000 through September 2001, significant progress occurred in the two components of the evaluation, the non-experimental impact study and the process study:

    • Non-experimental impact study: This research includes a multi-wave longitudinal survey of a randomly selected national sample of 600 AFIA program participants to assess the effects of program participation on low-income savings, asset accumulation, and other aspects of family well-being. The participant outcomes will be measured versus a comparison group of AFIA-eligible nonparticipants, using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. During Phase I, clearance from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was obtained for the survey of AFIA program participants.
    • Process study: This research includes site visits each year by Abt Associates staff to five or six selected AFIA programs. During these visits, interviews are conducted with program coordinators, program associates, and representatives of financial institutions to understand how programs have been implemented, how they operate, and how program features may affect participant outcomes. During Phase I, visits were conducted to five IDA programs that received AFIA funding through the initial (Fiscal Year 1999) program grants. (author introduction)
  • Individual Author: Austin, Michael J.; Lemon, Kathy
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    This review of promising programs to address the challenges facing low-income families living in distressed neighborhoods reveals three key themes: (1) Earnings and asset development programs are used to increase the economic self-sufficiency of low-income families and include: place-based employment programs, a focus on ˜good jobs," the use of work incentives, programs that promote banking, car and home ownership, and the use of the Earned Income Tax Credit; (2) Family strengthening programs are used to improve health and educational outcomes, as well as link families to needed support and benefit services and include: nurse home visitation, parenting education, early childhood educational programs, and facilitating the receipt of support services; and (3) Neighborhood strengthening programs are used to improve features of the neighborhood, collaboration among service providers, and resident involvement in neighborhood affairs and include: the use of community development corporations, comprehensive community initiatives and community organizing strategies. (author abstract...

    This review of promising programs to address the challenges facing low-income families living in distressed neighborhoods reveals three key themes: (1) Earnings and asset development programs are used to increase the economic self-sufficiency of low-income families and include: place-based employment programs, a focus on ˜good jobs," the use of work incentives, programs that promote banking, car and home ownership, and the use of the Earned Income Tax Credit; (2) Family strengthening programs are used to improve health and educational outcomes, as well as link families to needed support and benefit services and include: nurse home visitation, parenting education, early childhood educational programs, and facilitating the receipt of support services; and (3) Neighborhood strengthening programs are used to improve features of the neighborhood, collaboration among service providers, and resident involvement in neighborhood affairs and include: the use of community development corporations, comprehensive community initiatives and community organizing strategies. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fellowes, Matt
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    In general, lower income families tend to pay more for the exact same consumer product than families with higher incomes. For instance, 4.2 million lower income homeowners that earn less than $30,000 a year pay higher than average prices for their mortgages. About 4.5 million lower income households pay higher than average prices for auto loans. At least 1.6 million lower income adults pay excessive fees for furniture, appliances, and electronics. And, countless more pay high prices for other necessities, such as basic financial services, groceries, and insurance. Together, these extra costs add up to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars unnecessarily spent by lower income families every year.

    Reducing the costs of living for lower income families by just one percent would add up to over $6.5 billion in new spending power for these families. This would enable lower and modest-income families to save for, and invest in, incoming-growing assets, like homes and retirement savings, or to pay for critical expenses for their children, like education and health care.

    ...

    In general, lower income families tend to pay more for the exact same consumer product than families with higher incomes. For instance, 4.2 million lower income homeowners that earn less than $30,000 a year pay higher than average prices for their mortgages. About 4.5 million lower income households pay higher than average prices for auto loans. At least 1.6 million lower income adults pay excessive fees for furniture, appliances, and electronics. And, countless more pay high prices for other necessities, such as basic financial services, groceries, and insurance. Together, these extra costs add up to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars unnecessarily spent by lower income families every year.

    Reducing the costs of living for lower income families by just one percent would add up to over $6.5 billion in new spending power for these families. This would enable lower and modest-income families to save for, and invest in, incoming-growing assets, like homes and retirement savings, or to pay for critical expenses for their children, like education and health care.

    The policies needed to capture these savings for families will require few taxpayer dollars and true public-private partnership. Together, government, nonprofit, and business leaders can pursue a number of market and regulatory initiatives to improve the cost of living for lower income families. And unlike most traditional anti-poverty initiatives, limited (strategic) public investments can match or seed innovative market solutions.

    This report, analyzing both national data and data from 12 major metropolitan areas across the country, is about this opportunity to put the market to work for lower income families. (author abstract)

  • 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)

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