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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: Duncan, Greg; Huston, Aletha; Weisner, Thomas
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2007

    During the 1990s, growing demands to end chronic welfare dependency culminated in the 1996 federal “welfare-to-work” reforms. But regardless of welfare reform, the United States has always been home to a large population of working poor—people who remain poor even when they work and do not receive welfare. In a concentrated effort to address the problems of the working poor, a coalition of community activists and business leaders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, launched New Hope, an experimental program that boosted employment among the city’s poor while reducing poverty and improving children’s lives. In Higher Ground, Greg Duncan, Aletha Huston, and Thomas Weisner provide a compelling look at how New Hope can serve as a model for national anti-poverty policies.

    New Hope was a social contract—not a welfare program—in which participants were required to work a minimum of 30 hours a week in order to be eligible for earnings supplements and health and child care subsidies. All participants had access to career counseling and temporary community service jobs. Drawing on...

    During the 1990s, growing demands to end chronic welfare dependency culminated in the 1996 federal “welfare-to-work” reforms. But regardless of welfare reform, the United States has always been home to a large population of working poor—people who remain poor even when they work and do not receive welfare. In a concentrated effort to address the problems of the working poor, a coalition of community activists and business leaders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, launched New Hope, an experimental program that boosted employment among the city’s poor while reducing poverty and improving children’s lives. In Higher Ground, Greg Duncan, Aletha Huston, and Thomas Weisner provide a compelling look at how New Hope can serve as a model for national anti-poverty policies.

    New Hope was a social contract—not a welfare program—in which participants were required to work a minimum of 30 hours a week in order to be eligible for earnings supplements and health and child care subsidies. All participants had access to career counseling and temporary community service jobs. Drawing on evidence from surveys, public records of employment and earnings, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic observation, Higher Ground tells the story of this ambitious three-year social experiment and evaluates how participants fared relative to a control group. The results were highly encouraging. Poverty rates declined among families that participated in the program. Employment and earnings increased among participants who were not initially working full-time, relative to their counterparts in a control group. For those who had faced just one significant barrier to employment (such as a lack of access to child care or a spotty employment history), these gains lasted years after the program ended. Increased income, combined with New Hope’s subsidies for child care and health care, brought marked improvements to the well-being and development of participants’ children. Enrollment in child care centers increased, and fewer medical needs went unmet. Children performed better in school and exhibited fewer behavioral problems, and gains were particularly dramatic for boys, who are at the greatest risk for poor academic performance and behavioral disorders.

    As America takes stock of the successes and shortcomings of the Clinton-era welfare reforms, the authors convincingly demonstrate why New Hope could be a model for state and national policies to assist the working poor. Evidence based and insightfully written, Higher Ground illuminates how policymakers can make work pay for families struggling to escape poverty. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: DeParle, Jason
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2004

    In this definitive work, two-time Pulitzer finalist Jason DeParle cuts between the mean streets of Milwaukee and the corridors of Washington to produce a masterpiece of literary journalism. At the heart of the story are three cousins whose different lives follow similar trajectories. Leaving welfare, Angie puts her heart in her work. Jewell bets on an imprisoned man. Opal guards a tragic secret that threatens her kids and her life. DeParle traces  their family history back six generations to slavery and weaves poor people, politicians, reformers, and rogues into a spellbinding epic.

    With a vivid sense of humanity, DeParle demonstrates that although we live in a country where anyone can make it, generation after generation some families don’t. To read American Dream is to understand why. (author abstract)

    In this definitive work, two-time Pulitzer finalist Jason DeParle cuts between the mean streets of Milwaukee and the corridors of Washington to produce a masterpiece of literary journalism. At the heart of the story are three cousins whose different lives follow similar trajectories. Leaving welfare, Angie puts her heart in her work. Jewell bets on an imprisoned man. Opal guards a tragic secret that threatens her kids and her life. DeParle traces  their family history back six generations to slavery and weaves poor people, politicians, reformers, and rogues into a spellbinding epic.

    With a vivid sense of humanity, DeParle demonstrates that although we live in a country where anyone can make it, generation after generation some families don’t. To read American Dream is to understand why. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gassman-Pines, Anna; Yoshikawa, Hirokazu
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2006

    Using data from an experimental evaluation of the New Hope project, an antipoverty program that increased employment and income, this study examined the effects of New Hope on entry into marriage among never-married mothers. Among never-married mothers, New Hope significantly increased rates of marriage. Five years after random assignment, 21 percent of women assigned to the New Hope condition were married, compared to 12 percent of those assigned to the control group. The New Hope impact on marriage was robust to variations in model specification. The program also increased income, wage growth, and goal efficacy among never-married mothers, and decreased depression. In non-experimental analyses, income and earnings were associated with higher probability of marriage and material hardship was associated with lower probability of marriage. (author abstract)

    Using data from an experimental evaluation of the New Hope project, an antipoverty program that increased employment and income, this study examined the effects of New Hope on entry into marriage among never-married mothers. Among never-married mothers, New Hope significantly increased rates of marriage. Five years after random assignment, 21 percent of women assigned to the New Hope condition were married, compared to 12 percent of those assigned to the control group. The New Hope impact on marriage was robust to variations in model specification. The program also increased income, wage growth, and goal efficacy among never-married mothers, and decreased depression. In non-experimental analyses, income and earnings were associated with higher probability of marriage and material hardship was associated with lower probability of marriage. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Trenholm, Christopher; Devaney, Barbara; Fortson, Ken; Quay, Lisa; Wheeler, Justin; Clark, Melissa
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    The enactment of Title V, Section 510 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 significantly increased the funding and prominence of abstinence education as an approach to promote sexual abstinence and healthy teen behavior.  Since fiscal year 1998, the Title V, Section 510 program has allocated $50 million annually in federal funding for programs that teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for school-age children.  Under the matching block grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), states must match this federal funding at 75 percent, resulting in a total of $87.5 million annually for Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs.  All programs receiving Title V, Section 510 abstinence education funding must comply with the “A-H” definition of abstinence education.

    In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress authorized a scientific evaluation of the Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Program.  This report presents final results from a...

    The enactment of Title V, Section 510 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 significantly increased the funding and prominence of abstinence education as an approach to promote sexual abstinence and healthy teen behavior.  Since fiscal year 1998, the Title V, Section 510 program has allocated $50 million annually in federal funding for programs that teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for school-age children.  Under the matching block grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), states must match this federal funding at 75 percent, resulting in a total of $87.5 million annually for Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs.  All programs receiving Title V, Section 510 abstinence education funding must comply with the “A-H” definition of abstinence education.

    In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress authorized a scientific evaluation of the Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Program.  This report presents final results from a multi-year, experimentally-based impact study conducted as part of this evaluation.  It focuses on four selected Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs:  (1) My Choice, My Future! in Powhatan, Virginia; (2) ReCapturing the Vision in Miami, Florida; (3) Families United to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (FUPTP) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and (4) Teens in Control in Clarksdale, Mississippi.  Based on follow-up data collected from youth four to six years after study enrollment, the report presents the estimated program impacts on youth behavior, including sexual abstinence, risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other related outcomes. (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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