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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: Seefeldt, Kristin S.; Castelli, Tedi
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    This study examines the economic coping strategies of low-income families, using data collected through qualitative interviews conducted in 2006-08 with 35 low-income women residing in the Detroit metropolitan area. Three rounds of interviews found that the majority of the sample were employed at least some of the time, and most had children living with them. Despite careful shopping practices, rising food prices forced cutbacks in purchase of certain foods, including milk, cereal, fruits, and meat. Just under half reported running out of food at some point during the year. As for government assistance, the then named Food Stamp Program, and now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was their mainstay. Even when eligible for benefits, many of the families did not receive cash assistance, unemployment benefits, or workers’ compensation due to perceived access barriers. (author abstract)

    This study examines the economic coping strategies of low-income families, using data collected through qualitative interviews conducted in 2006-08 with 35 low-income women residing in the Detroit metropolitan area. Three rounds of interviews found that the majority of the sample were employed at least some of the time, and most had children living with them. Despite careful shopping practices, rising food prices forced cutbacks in purchase of certain foods, including milk, cereal, fruits, and meat. Just under half reported running out of food at some point during the year. As for government assistance, the then named Food Stamp Program, and now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was their mainstay. Even when eligible for benefits, many of the families did not receive cash assistance, unemployment benefits, or workers’ compensation due to perceived access barriers. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Zenk, Shannon N.; Schulz, Amy J.; Odoms-Young, Angela
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2009

    Until recently, researchers have focused most of their attention on psychosocial factors that contribute to obesity and related behaviors, such as diet and physical activity. However, there is increasing recognition of the important role that environmental factors play in these behaviors.

    Between 1980 and 2000, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity doubled, rising to 31% of U.S. adults, ages 20 to 74. Since then, the prevalence rate has continued to rise.4 Obesity is a major health concern among African Americans; the prevalence of obesity in African American women exceeds rates for all other racial, ethnic, and gender groups (for example, 54% of African American women are obese, compared with 30% of non-Hispanic white women). Nurses, too, find excess weight gain a common health challenge. (Author introduction)

    Until recently, researchers have focused most of their attention on psychosocial factors that contribute to obesity and related behaviors, such as diet and physical activity. However, there is increasing recognition of the important role that environmental factors play in these behaviors.

    Between 1980 and 2000, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity doubled, rising to 31% of U.S. adults, ages 20 to 74. Since then, the prevalence rate has continued to rise.4 Obesity is a major health concern among African Americans; the prevalence of obesity in African American women exceeds rates for all other racial, ethnic, and gender groups (for example, 54% of African American women are obese, compared with 30% of non-Hispanic white women). Nurses, too, find excess weight gain a common health challenge. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Allard, Scott; Danziger, Sandra; Wathen, Maria
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The Great Recession has led to record job losses, persistently high rates of unemployment, and lower earnings for many households, all of which have led to increased poverty. A number of public and private sources of support may help low-income families cope with the effects of the recession. Cash and in-kind safety net programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), public health insurance programs, such as Medicaid, and Unemployment Insurance (UI) delivered more than $300 billion in benefits to tens of millions of low-income households in 2009.

    In addition, private charitable nonprofit organizations and informal private social support provide assistance both to households that receive public benefits and to those not eligible for public benefits. Private supports help families cope with job loss, diminished earnings, and related hardships. Some nonprofit charities provide programs that address barriers to employment and promote greater self-...

    The Great Recession has led to record job losses, persistently high rates of unemployment, and lower earnings for many households, all of which have led to increased poverty. A number of public and private sources of support may help low-income families cope with the effects of the recession. Cash and in-kind safety net programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), public health insurance programs, such as Medicaid, and Unemployment Insurance (UI) delivered more than $300 billion in benefits to tens of millions of low-income households in 2009.

    In addition, private charitable nonprofit organizations and informal private social support provide assistance both to households that receive public benefits and to those not eligible for public benefits. Private supports help families cope with job loss, diminished earnings, and related hardships. Some nonprofit charities provide programs that address barriers to employment and promote greater self-sufficiency, including job search, education and skill development, literacy, housing assistance, emergency cash, temporary food assistance, and health-related services. Similarly, families, friends, and social networks often provide informal social support for finding a job, paying bills, addressing food or shelter needs, childcare, or otherwise reducing hardship.

    Although some public programs such as SNAP, UI and Medicaid have greatly expanded caseloads and expenditures in response to rising need following the Great Recession, few studies have explored how low-income families have drawn on help from both formal and informal sources of private social support during this period.

    This policy brief examines the sources of support received by households with children and with income near or below the federal poverty line in the Detroit Metropolitan Area during the wake of the Great Recession. We compare use of public and private programs by race and by respondents’ experiences of unemployment during the prior year. We focus on supports potentially available to low-income families through public programs, assistance from charitable nonprofits, and informal sources of private support. Roughly three-quarters of poor and near-poor households with children in the Detroit Metropolitan Area have received some type of public safety net benefit in the previous year and a comparable share reported drawing upon private sources of support during that time. Slightly more than half of all low-income households combined public and private sources. Receipt of public and private sources of support is most prevalent among households with respondents experiencing prolonged periods of unemployment. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Burgard, Sarah A.; Kalousova, Lucie; Danziger, Sheldon; Seefeldt, Kristin S.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    The “Great Recession” that lasted from December 2007 through June 2009 was the most severe recession in recent decades. It lasted longer and resulted in more job losses than previous downturns, and an unusually large number of workers experienced long-term unemployment during this recession and the current slow recovery. Analyzing data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which tracked households from mid-2008 through early 2011, Johnson and Feng (2013) found that most of the substantial increase in the unemployment rate was driven by a surge in multiple and extended jobless spells (lasting 6 months or more), rather than an increase in the likelihood of becoming unemployed at all. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 41 percent of the unemployed in 2012 had been without work for 27 weeks or more compared to only 17.6 percent prior to the recession.

    Long-term unemployment is associated with serious hardships. For example, levels of food insecurity increase as the unemployment rate rises (Nord and Carlson, 2009) as do levels of financial...

    The “Great Recession” that lasted from December 2007 through June 2009 was the most severe recession in recent decades. It lasted longer and resulted in more job losses than previous downturns, and an unusually large number of workers experienced long-term unemployment during this recession and the current slow recovery. Analyzing data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which tracked households from mid-2008 through early 2011, Johnson and Feng (2013) found that most of the substantial increase in the unemployment rate was driven by a surge in multiple and extended jobless spells (lasting 6 months or more), rather than an increase in the likelihood of becoming unemployed at all. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 41 percent of the unemployed in 2012 had been without work for 27 weeks or more compared to only 17.6 percent prior to the recession.

    Long-term unemployment is associated with serious hardships. For example, levels of food insecurity increase as the unemployment rate rises (Nord and Carlson, 2009) as do levels of financial problems (Lovell and Oh, 2006). While we know about these broad associations between unemployment rates and rates of hardship across the population, prior studies typically have focused on one or just a few hardships. In this brief, we examine levels and correlates of long- term unemployment among working age adults in the Michigan and Recession and Recovery Study (MRRS). We also explore whether long-term unemployment was associated with higher levels of material hardship in four key domains: financial problems, housing instability, food insecurity, and foregone medical care. We examine these domains one at a time, and then consider the total burden of hardship across the four domains. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Danziger, Sandra; Allard, Scott; Wathen, Maria ; Burgard, Sarah; Seefeldt, Kristin; Rodems, Rick; Cohen, Alicia
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    While the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, the recovery that followed has been slow and high unemployment rates persist. The recession contributed to increased food insecurity according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture: from 2008 to 2011, over 14% of households were food insecure at some time during the year, whereas from 1999 to 2007, the figure had been considerably lower at 10-11%.

    The Detroit Metropolitan Area was much harder hit by the Great Recession than many other areas. As a result, food insecurity has remained quite high in the region. Gunderson et al. (2013) report 18.2% of Michigan residents were food insecure in 2009. In the three counties that comprise the Detroit area, food insecurity rates in 2009 were 23.8% for Wayne County, 15.3% for Oakland County and 17.7 % for Macomb County.

    In this brief, we use panel data from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study (MRRS) to evaluate recent changes in food insecurity, identify key risk factors, and examine use of public and private programs intended to reduce food insecurity. (author...

    While the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, the recovery that followed has been slow and high unemployment rates persist. The recession contributed to increased food insecurity according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture: from 2008 to 2011, over 14% of households were food insecure at some time during the year, whereas from 1999 to 2007, the figure had been considerably lower at 10-11%.

    The Detroit Metropolitan Area was much harder hit by the Great Recession than many other areas. As a result, food insecurity has remained quite high in the region. Gunderson et al. (2013) report 18.2% of Michigan residents were food insecure in 2009. In the three counties that comprise the Detroit area, food insecurity rates in 2009 were 23.8% for Wayne County, 15.3% for Oakland County and 17.7 % for Macomb County.

    In this brief, we use panel data from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study (MRRS) to evaluate recent changes in food insecurity, identify key risk factors, and examine use of public and private programs intended to reduce food insecurity. (author abstract) 

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