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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: The Urban Institute
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

     The overarching goal of the Choice Neighborhoods program (Choice) is to redevelop distressed assisted housing projects and transform the neighborhoods surrounding them into mixed-income, high-opportunity places. Choice builds on lessons learned during HOPE VI, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) long-running program to replace or rehabilitate distressed public housing. It maintains the emphasis of HOPE VI on public-private partnerships and mixed financing for replacing or rehabilitating assisted housing but extends eligibility to privately owned federally subsidized developments. It requires that grantees build at least one subsidized replacement housing unit for every assisted unit demolished in the target development. It also continues the emphasis of HOPE VI on protecting tenants during the redevelopment process and heightens aspirations to give existing tenants the opportunity to live in the redeveloped project upon its completion. It differs most from HOPE VI by providing funding for projects that create synergy between renovation of the target...

     The overarching goal of the Choice Neighborhoods program (Choice) is to redevelop distressed assisted housing projects and transform the neighborhoods surrounding them into mixed-income, high-opportunity places. Choice builds on lessons learned during HOPE VI, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) long-running program to replace or rehabilitate distressed public housing. It maintains the emphasis of HOPE VI on public-private partnerships and mixed financing for replacing or rehabilitating assisted housing but extends eligibility to privately owned federally subsidized developments. It requires that grantees build at least one subsidized replacement housing unit for every assisted unit demolished in the target development. It also continues the emphasis of HOPE VI on protecting tenants during the redevelopment process and heightens aspirations to give existing tenants the opportunity to live in the redeveloped project upon its completion. It differs most from HOPE VI by providing funding for projects that create synergy between renovation of the target development and revitalization efforts within the neighborhood surrounding the target development. Beyond providing funding for neighborhood investments, Choice also fosters partnerships among organizations, agencies, and institutions working throughout the neighborhood to build affordable housing, provide social services, care for and educate children and youth, ensure public safety, and revitalize the neighborhood’s commercial opportunities and infrastructure.

    This interim report provides a preliminary view of the first five Choice implementation sites: Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Seattle. (author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Molina, Frieda; Nelson, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This first publication from the Neighborhood Jobs Initiative (NJI), a project that is developing innovative place-based employment strategies in several inner-city communities, introduces NJI's rationale and design. It describes the early steps taken in each of five low-income communities to define a local neighborhood-focused employment strategy, and it documents the challenges faced in the early phase of NJI implementation. (author abstract)

    This first publication from the Neighborhood Jobs Initiative (NJI), a project that is developing innovative place-based employment strategies in several inner-city communities, introduces NJI's rationale and design. It describes the early steps taken in each of five low-income communities to define a local neighborhood-focused employment strategy, and it documents the challenges faced in the early phase of NJI implementation. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Molina, Frieda; Howard, Craig
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Traditional employment programs have tried to address poverty by focusing on efforts that assist individuals. The Neighborhood Jobs Initiative (NJI) took a different approach. It sought to alleviate concentrated poverty by raising employment levels of entire neighborhoods to match the level prevailing in their metropolitan regions. NJI developers hypothesized that such concentrated efforts, if successful, would gradually transform low-income communities, representing a new approach to neighborhood revitalization. Community organizations with strong ties to neighborhood residents were engaged to lead these efforts. Each was charged with responsibility for identifying ambitious and concrete employment targets and mobilizing public and private partners to reach the targeted outcomes.

    Drawing upon the experiences of the lead community organizations during the initiative’s implementation phase, this third and final NJI report begins to answer the overarching questions first posed by MDRC and its funding partners: Is it possible to realize large employment outcomes in targeted...

    Traditional employment programs have tried to address poverty by focusing on efforts that assist individuals. The Neighborhood Jobs Initiative (NJI) took a different approach. It sought to alleviate concentrated poverty by raising employment levels of entire neighborhoods to match the level prevailing in their metropolitan regions. NJI developers hypothesized that such concentrated efforts, if successful, would gradually transform low-income communities, representing a new approach to neighborhood revitalization. Community organizations with strong ties to neighborhood residents were engaged to lead these efforts. Each was charged with responsibility for identifying ambitious and concrete employment targets and mobilizing public and private partners to reach the targeted outcomes.

    Drawing upon the experiences of the lead community organizations during the initiative’s implementation phase, this third and final NJI report begins to answer the overarching questions first posed by MDRC and its funding partners: Is it possible to realize large employment outcomes in targeted communities? Are community-based organizations (CBO) effective vehicles for mobilizing, brokering, and delivering employment programs to underemployed and unemployed residents of low-income communities? What programmatic elements appear to contribute to the goal of raising employment levels in targeted communities?

    Key Findings

    • Efforts to quantify precisely what was meant by “large employment outcomes” represented a turning point in the initiative and served as a catalyst for bringing partners to the table. Early attempts to implement the vision of NJI faltered when the sites used abstract goals related to the nature and level of expected employment gains. The lead CBOs were unable to convey to partners what scale of effort would be required to realize large outcomes, and they were unable to gauge progress along the way. Once the employment targets were identified and the partners understood and committed to these targets, it became easier for the CBOs to mobilize the levels of effort needed to reach a larger scale of employment outcomes.

    • To succeed in reaching community-level employment targets, NJI required an extraordinary effort by the CBOs and their partners. NJI required dedicated organizational, human, and financial resources to be successful. Distinct staff capacities were required at different stages of the initiative, and the lead organization had to be willing to give NJI priority over its other activities and be prepared to dedicate a significant amount of senior staff’s time to the effort.

    • CBOs with strong neighborhood connections are ideally suited for mobilizing residents and partners to achieve positive programmatic advantages. The quality of CBO relationships with neighborhood residents and knowledge of their employment barriers contributed to the type, quality, and accessibility of employment services offered, thereby improving early progress in reaching their employment targets.

    • The scale of operations achieved by NJI sites suggests that it is possible to raise employment rates in low-income neighborhoods. The initiative ended after just two years of program implementation, and none of the sites had achieved its five-year saturation targets within the time allocated. But early achievements suggest that a number of sites were on a trajectory to realize large outcomes, thereby changing the employment profiles of their respective communities.

    • A neighborhood-focused employment saturation strategy is not appropriate for all low income neighborhoods. The NJI experience suggests that more stable neighborhoods with strong local identities experience the greatest benefit from a place-based employment approach like NJI..
    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bellotti, Jeanne; Derr, Michelle; Paxton, Nora
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    In July 2007, the Employment and Training Administration awarded grants to five organizations to assist ex-offenders transition back into their communities under the Beneficiary Choice Contracting Program. The demonstration is based on the core premise that helping formerly incarcerated individuals find and maintain stable and legal employment will reduce recidivism and increase public safety. The cornerstone of the beneficiary choice approach is the participant's choice of the service provider that best meets his/her needs. The demonstration includes the added element of performance-based contracting for those services.

    This report, Giving Ex-Offenders a Choice in Life: First Findings from the Beneficiary Choice Demonstration, was prepared by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Information included in the report was gathered during visits to each grantee community and after intense discussions at grantee conferences sponsored by the Department of Labor. The report includes a description of the grantees and the communities in which they operate; the grantees’...

    In July 2007, the Employment and Training Administration awarded grants to five organizations to assist ex-offenders transition back into their communities under the Beneficiary Choice Contracting Program. The demonstration is based on the core premise that helping formerly incarcerated individuals find and maintain stable and legal employment will reduce recidivism and increase public safety. The cornerstone of the beneficiary choice approach is the participant's choice of the service provider that best meets his/her needs. The demonstration includes the added element of performance-based contracting for those services.

    This report, Giving Ex-Offenders a Choice in Life: First Findings from the Beneficiary Choice Demonstration, was prepared by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Information included in the report was gathered during visits to each grantee community and after intense discussions at grantee conferences sponsored by the Department of Labor. The report includes a description of the grantees and the communities in which they operate; the grantees’ experiences in developing the programs; the characteristics of participants enrolled during the initial months of operation; and some of their early employment-related outcomes. Of particular interest, the report also includes a description of grantees’ initial efforts to ensure that participants have a truly independent choice of service providers. The early successes and ongoing challenges faced by the grantees when implementing the indirect funding approach through performance-based contracting are also identified in the report. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Greenberg, David; Verma, Nandita; Dillman, Keri-Nicole; Chaskin, Robert; Riccio, James A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    Distressed urban neighborhoods face challenges on multiple fronts, but most efforts to confront these problems work in isolation of one another. The New Communities Program (NCP) is an exception, helping selected Chicago neighborhoods develop partnerships to address challenges involving employment, education, housing, and safety in a comprehensive, coordinated fashion. In each community, a local intermediary brings together organizations to plan and then to implement varied improvement projects. A 10-year, $47 million MacArthur Foundation initiative developed and managed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago (LISC/Chicago), NCP emphasizes this relational approach by building collaborations as a “platform” for broad and sustained improvement, even as local conditions change.

    MDRC leads the NCP evaluation with collaborators at the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall, Metro Chicago Information Center, and Wayne State University. This interim report focuses on NCP’s rollout and early implementation years, examining community conditions, how local groups...

    Distressed urban neighborhoods face challenges on multiple fronts, but most efforts to confront these problems work in isolation of one another. The New Communities Program (NCP) is an exception, helping selected Chicago neighborhoods develop partnerships to address challenges involving employment, education, housing, and safety in a comprehensive, coordinated fashion. In each community, a local intermediary brings together organizations to plan and then to implement varied improvement projects. A 10-year, $47 million MacArthur Foundation initiative developed and managed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago (LISC/Chicago), NCP emphasizes this relational approach by building collaborations as a “platform” for broad and sustained improvement, even as local conditions change.

    MDRC leads the NCP evaluation with collaborators at the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall, Metro Chicago Information Center, and Wayne State University. This interim report focuses on NCP’s rollout and early implementation years, examining community conditions, how local groups worked together, and projects completed through 2008. The report shows that NCP has successfully managed planning and implementation of many different projects to help address varied local problems. Its findings include the following:

      • Community conditions. NCP was implemented in neighborhoods facing varying degrees of economic disinvestment and population change. Quality-of-life trends were consistently improving in NCP neighborhoods during the early years of planning and implementation (2003-2005), showing greater local investments and generally falling crime rates. However, by 2006-2007, some NCP neighborhoods were seeing increases in foreclosures, and NCP’s designers began to adjust their strategies to contend with the growing economic downturn.
      • Initiative management. As the managing intermediary, LISC/Chicago successfully facilitated grants to organizations, offered technical assistance, mediated community conflict, and enforced accountability among partners.
      • Implementation. Local intermediaries successfully developed quality-of-life plans and implemented about 750 projects in multiple domains: education, workforce development, housing, and social services. Most of these projects were small — around $25,000 to $50,000 — but some were able to leverage additional resources, especially in the area of housing and commercial real estate development.
      • Collaboration. NCP helped community organizations form more trusting relationships and work together more successfully. However, improvements in relationships mostly occurred within neighborhoods, not between neighborhoods or with City Hall, raising questions about the long-term sustainability of local action.

    Future reports will examine NCP’s adaptation to the changing economic climate and its longer-term role in supporting neighborhood improvements and will compare trends in NCP neighborhoods with those in similar neighborhoods that the foundation and LISC/Chicago did not target. (author abstract)

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