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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: Bloom, Jacqueline
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2007

    Transitional housing programs offer an array of residential and support services that are designed to help families successfully move from homelessness into permanent housing, while increasing self-sufficiency and life satisfaction. Different models of transitional housing range from those in which individual housing units become permanent with subsidies phasing out, to facilities which house multiple families who at graduation must secure permanent housing. The latter programs are more controversial because they prolong housing instability. Debate exists over whether these programs take money that would be better spent on permanent housing and force families who need housing to receive support services, or whether the comprehensive supports provided assist, at least some families to be more successful in accomplishing goals. Limited outcome research suggests that some transitional housing residents have better outcomes than homeless families exiting shelters, but poorly articulates the process by which programs affect change and how those enrolled believe these experiences...

    Transitional housing programs offer an array of residential and support services that are designed to help families successfully move from homelessness into permanent housing, while increasing self-sufficiency and life satisfaction. Different models of transitional housing range from those in which individual housing units become permanent with subsidies phasing out, to facilities which house multiple families who at graduation must secure permanent housing. The latter programs are more controversial because they prolong housing instability. Debate exists over whether these programs take money that would be better spent on permanent housing and force families who need housing to receive support services, or whether the comprehensive supports provided assist, at least some families to be more successful in accomplishing goals. Limited outcome research suggests that some transitional housing residents have better outcomes than homeless families exiting shelters, but poorly articulates the process by which programs affect change and how those enrolled believe these experiences impact their lives. The primary focus of this research was on the consumer's view of transitional housing in order to understand their experiences and how they assign meanings to them. Participants were current and former residents of a 13 family facility located in a major West Coast city. Grounded interpretive investigation was used to evaluate how these consumers viewed their time in transitional housing, the effect of the program on social networks, how program rules shaped the experience, what they found helpful and limiting about the program, and whether their views had changed over time. Consumers were also asked about their opinions of program effectiveness and satisfaction; suggestions for program improvements were collected. Residents were recruited through posting and mailing fliers. The perspectives of residents who left the program several years ago were included as were the views of those who had difficult residencies. For comparison, opinions of staff members were collected. In total, 43 volunteers were interviewed: 11 current residents, 26 former residents, and 6 staff members. Results suggest that the interaction between program structure and practices as well as resident and staff member's abilities and resources influence meanings assigned to experiences. The program created an atmosphere conducive for change, but the ability of residents to respond played a pivotal role. Some residents quickly partnered with the program, some after time, and a small number did not respond in any significant way. Residents' ability to form trusting relationships with staff members appeared to be the most crucial factor in creating bonds. Residents who connected immediately focused on ways in which they had grown and their lives had changed. Their central tenet was the program's positive impact on their lives. Residents who were slow to connect formed relationships that were dominated by staff members who continued to provide support even when their behavior was destructive and they felt undeserving; the core belief around which they organized their views was that staff members' refusal to abandon them resulted in a gradual increase in feelings of self-worth. The residents who never attached created meanings that were characterized by distance and mistrust; they were driven by conflict and difficulties and focused on separation and individuation from the program.(author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brocksen, Sally M.
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2006

    This project employed a descriptive case study methodology guided by rational choice theory to examine the financial feasibility of marriage for low income women. By modeling the income and expenses of eight different low income family types in six states (Arizona, California, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin) this study illustrates the financial situation of various low income families. The family types under investigation include: a single parent family, a family receiving TANF, cohabiting couple with two wage earners, cohabiting couple with one wage earner, a married family with two wage earners, a married couple with one wage earner, a unmarried couple with an infant (unmarried fragile family), and a married couple with an infant (married fragile family). The income of each family type was calculated at two different wage levels (minimum and low wage for each state under investigation). Income included the welfare benefits and subsidies each of the family's is likely to receive (including child care subsidies and tax credits). The expenses of each family were...

    This project employed a descriptive case study methodology guided by rational choice theory to examine the financial feasibility of marriage for low income women. By modeling the income and expenses of eight different low income family types in six states (Arizona, California, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin) this study illustrates the financial situation of various low income families. The family types under investigation include: a single parent family, a family receiving TANF, cohabiting couple with two wage earners, cohabiting couple with one wage earner, a married family with two wage earners, a married couple with one wage earner, a unmarried couple with an infant (unmarried fragile family), and a married couple with an infant (married fragile family). The income of each family type was calculated at two different wage levels (minimum and low wage for each state under investigation). Income included the welfare benefits and subsidies each of the family's is likely to receive (including child care subsidies and tax credits). The expenses of each family were calculated based on the size of the family and the cost of expenses such as housing and food expenditures. This study found that of the models presented here married families are not always financially better off when compared to single parent and cohabiting families. These findings demonstrate that if policy makers wish to support marriage among low income families they should first make marriage financially feasible for unmarried couples (particularly cohabiting couples) and create greater economic stability for couples that are already married. By providing consistent work supports (e.g. child care and health insurance), expanding programs that help low income families (such as the Earned Income Tax Credit), creating poverty measures that accurately reflect the real situation of low income families, and increasing the wages of low income workers, policy makers will create an environment where it is financially feasible for low income couples to marry and remain married. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gezinski, Lindsay Blair
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2011

    With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, Congress ended “welfare as we know it” and formally adopted a workfare approach. However, families continue to be trapped in the “low-wage ghetto”. Therefore, research is needed that investigates effective routes out of poverty. Studies have found that welfare recipients with higher educational attainment work more and earn significantly higher income than those with lower educational attainment. However, very little research exists around the relationship between social capital and labor force participation.

    Four research questions guided this study: (1) How do demographic variables affect social capital and human capital among single women who use welfare? (2) How do social capital and human capital affect employment outcome? (3) Do social capital and human capital act as mediators between demographic variables and employment outcome? (4) How do macro-level variables (i.e., city unemployment rate and state TANF policy) affect employment outcome?

    This study...

    With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, Congress ended “welfare as we know it” and formally adopted a workfare approach. However, families continue to be trapped in the “low-wage ghetto”. Therefore, research is needed that investigates effective routes out of poverty. Studies have found that welfare recipients with higher educational attainment work more and earn significantly higher income than those with lower educational attainment. However, very little research exists around the relationship between social capital and labor force participation.

    Four research questions guided this study: (1) How do demographic variables affect social capital and human capital among single women who use welfare? (2) How do social capital and human capital affect employment outcome? (3) Do social capital and human capital act as mediators between demographic variables and employment outcome? (4) How do macro-level variables (i.e., city unemployment rate and state TANF policy) affect employment outcome?

    This study analyzed Wave 2 (2005-2007) data from the Making Connections Cross-Site Survey database. 1,428 women with no spouse/partner present in the household who indicated use of a TANF/welfare office in the last 12 months were selected for inclusion in the study sample. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to extract factors that underlie the social capital construct and to identify the indicators that were associated with each of those factors. Five social capital factors emerged: support giving social capital, bonding social capital, bridging social capital, value sharing social capital, and support receiving social capital. Structural equation modeling was used to answer the major research questions in this study. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Nuñez, Stephen Charles
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2011

    In this dissertation, I explore the role of values and moral judgments in credit markets. I focus on the frequenting of “fringe banks,” controversial institutions that serve those who have limited access to mainstream credit markets as a result of poverty and/or poor/no credit history. Among other intriguing results, I find compelling evidence that there are persistent statistical differences in payday and pawn loan usage across racial and ethnic groups that cannot be explained by disparities in wealth and credit access. Instead, I argue that they are the result of variations in the perception of the propriety of such loans, variations that have their root in the legacy of racial discrimination in mainstream credit markets in the United States. To make this case, I utilize both quantitative and qualitative data as well as a variety of novel statistical techniques. I analyze cross-site multi-wave survey data collected by The Center for Community Capital, The National Opinion Research Center and The Annie E. Casey Foundation. I strengthen my argument by drawing on excellent focus...

    In this dissertation, I explore the role of values and moral judgments in credit markets. I focus on the frequenting of “fringe banks,” controversial institutions that serve those who have limited access to mainstream credit markets as a result of poverty and/or poor/no credit history. Among other intriguing results, I find compelling evidence that there are persistent statistical differences in payday and pawn loan usage across racial and ethnic groups that cannot be explained by disparities in wealth and credit access. Instead, I argue that they are the result of variations in the perception of the propriety of such loans, variations that have their root in the legacy of racial discrimination in mainstream credit markets in the United States. To make this case, I utilize both quantitative and qualitative data as well as a variety of novel statistical techniques. I analyze cross-site multi-wave survey data collected by The Center for Community Capital, The National Opinion Research Center and The Annie E. Casey Foundation. I strengthen my argument by drawing on excellent focus group data supplied by The Center for Community Capital and The Center for Responsible Lending. This study represents a unique contribution to the sociology of credit and finance and demonstrates the importance of synthesizing structural and cultural approaches to the study of economic activity. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Anton, Eugene
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2013

    The purpose of this study was to understand earned income tax credit (EITC) policy influences on the development of economic mobility for individuals receiving EITC. Policymakers have declared that improving the economic mobility of low-wage workers a major objective of the EITC. This study addressed identifying factors that contribute to economic mobility, and testing the punctuated equilibrium theory to determine whether exogenous forces influence EITC policymakers' decisions.

    Utilizing the survey data of 2,252 EITC respondents from the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, California, the study found that saving, education, race, and being banked were factors contributing to economic mobility. Age was not a factor contributing to economic mobility. Results from testing the punctuated equilibrium theory indicated that at the .05 level there was not a significant association between exogenous forces and EITC policymaking decisions. (author abstract) 

    The purpose of this study was to understand earned income tax credit (EITC) policy influences on the development of economic mobility for individuals receiving EITC. Policymakers have declared that improving the economic mobility of low-wage workers a major objective of the EITC. This study addressed identifying factors that contribute to economic mobility, and testing the punctuated equilibrium theory to determine whether exogenous forces influence EITC policymakers' decisions.

    Utilizing the survey data of 2,252 EITC respondents from the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, California, the study found that saving, education, race, and being banked were factors contributing to economic mobility. Age was not a factor contributing to economic mobility. Results from testing the punctuated equilibrium theory indicated that at the .05 level there was not a significant association between exogenous forces and EITC policymaking decisions. (author abstract) 

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