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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: Harding, David J.; Wyse, Jessica J. B.; Dobson, Cheyney; Morenoff, Jeffrey D.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2014

    Former prisoners are at high risk of economic insecurity due to the challenges they face in finding employment and to the difficulties of securing and maintaining public assistance while incarcerated. This study examines the processes through which former prisoners attain economic security, examining how they meet basic material needs and achieve upward mobility over time. It draws on unique qualitative data from in-depth, unstructured interviews with a sample of former prisoners followed over a two- to three-year period to assess how subjects draw upon a combination of employment, social supports, and public benefits to make ends meet. Findings reveal considerable struggle among our subjects to meet even minimal needs for shelter and food, although economic security and stability could be attained when employment or public benefits were coupled with familial social support. Sustained economic security was rarely achieved absent either strong social support or access to long-term public benefits. However, a select few were able to leverage material support and social networks...

    Former prisoners are at high risk of economic insecurity due to the challenges they face in finding employment and to the difficulties of securing and maintaining public assistance while incarcerated. This study examines the processes through which former prisoners attain economic security, examining how they meet basic material needs and achieve upward mobility over time. It draws on unique qualitative data from in-depth, unstructured interviews with a sample of former prisoners followed over a two- to three-year period to assess how subjects draw upon a combination of employment, social supports, and public benefits to make ends meet. Findings reveal considerable struggle among our subjects to meet even minimal needs for shelter and food, although economic security and stability could be attained when employment or public benefits were coupled with familial social support. Sustained economic security was rarely achieved absent either strong social support or access to long-term public benefits. However, a select few were able to leverage material support and social networks into trajectories of upward mobility and economic independence. Policy implications are discussed. (author abstract)

    This article is based on working papers published by the Population Studies Center and National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

  • Individual Author: Danziger, Sandra K.; Seefeldt, Kristin S.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2002

    In this article, we describe what we have found in the first three years of the Women’s Employment Study (WES), which follows a cohort of welfare recipients. We compare the characteristics of women who accumulated a relatively continuous amount of work experience from 1997 to 1999 with those who worked less; we also compare women who remained welfare recipients for most of this period with those who received welfare in fewer months. We first discuss how these findings build on existing research; next, we examine the barriers to employment associated with welfare recipients who are often defined as “hard to serve” and discuss the ways in which policies such as sanctions and time limits may affect these recipients. (author introduction)

    This resource is a summary of an article published in the journal "Social Policy and Society".

    In this article, we describe what we have found in the first three years of the Women’s Employment Study (WES), which follows a cohort of welfare recipients. We compare the characteristics of women who accumulated a relatively continuous amount of work experience from 1997 to 1999 with those who worked less; we also compare women who remained welfare recipients for most of this period with those who received welfare in fewer months. We first discuss how these findings build on existing research; next, we examine the barriers to employment associated with welfare recipients who are often defined as “hard to serve” and discuss the ways in which policies such as sanctions and time limits may affect these recipients. (author introduction)

    This resource is a summary of an article published in the journal "Social Policy and Society".

  • Individual Author: Burgard, Sarah A.; Seefeldt, Kristin S.; Zelner, Sarah
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    The recession of the late 2000s has increased interest in the consequences of housing instability. Previous research has shown poorer health among those experiencing housing instability, but extant studies generally have focused on selected populations (e.g., homeowners or renters) or studied only one type of housing instability (e.g. homelessness). Using new data from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study, a population-based sample of working-aged adults from Southeastern Michigan, U.S.A., in late 2009–early 2010, we found that about one-third of respondents recently experienced some type of housing instability. Many, but not all, types of instability were associated with health. Even after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics and earlier health, individuals who had moved for cost reasons in the past three years were more likely than those with no housing instability to report a recent anxiety attack, while those who experienced homelessness in the past year had a higher likelihood of reporting fair/poor self-rated health and of meeting criteria for major or minor...

    The recession of the late 2000s has increased interest in the consequences of housing instability. Previous research has shown poorer health among those experiencing housing instability, but extant studies generally have focused on selected populations (e.g., homeowners or renters) or studied only one type of housing instability (e.g. homelessness). Using new data from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study, a population-based sample of working-aged adults from Southeastern Michigan, U.S.A., in late 2009–early 2010, we found that about one-third of respondents recently experienced some type of housing instability. Many, but not all, types of instability were associated with health. Even after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics and earlier health, individuals who had moved for cost reasons in the past three years were more likely than those with no housing instability to report a recent anxiety attack, while those who experienced homelessness in the past year had a higher likelihood of reporting fair/poor self-rated health and of meeting criteria for major or minor depression. Renters behind on rental payments were more likely to meet criteria for depression, while mortgage-holders behind on their mortgage or in foreclosure had a higher likelihood of reporting fair/poor self-rated health or a recent anxiety attack. Among respondents who had ever owned a home, those who completed a foreclosure recently were more likely to report major or minor depression or an anxiety attack. However, frequent moves were not associated with poorer health, and doubling up and eviction were not associated with poorer health after adjustment for characteristics that sort people into different housing instability experiences. Our findings suggest the importance of considering multiple types of housing instability and using appropriate risk groups and comparison categories. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

  • Individual Author: Wagle, Udaya R.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    Michigan has undergone enormous labor market changes since the 1990s affecting employment, income, and poverty. This paper examines changes in poverty among working families and their policy-related and socio-demographic determinants between 1998/1999 and 2007/2008 in Michigan. Findings suggest the rates of ‘poverty’ and ‘near poverty’ to be between 5 and 19% among working families, with slightly higher rates for the latter period. Public transfers combining taxes and means-tested supports, albeit making some impact among poor families with children, were unable to lower these rates. While the major socio-demographic characteristics of poverty and near poverty including large families with children and young, never married, single mother, and immigrant householders apply to working families, the roles of gender, race, marital status, and education manifest through many policy-related variables such as work hours, wages, and transfer incomes. These findings have important implications for understanding working poverty in Michigan and beyond. (author abstract)

    This article...

    Michigan has undergone enormous labor market changes since the 1990s affecting employment, income, and poverty. This paper examines changes in poverty among working families and their policy-related and socio-demographic determinants between 1998/1999 and 2007/2008 in Michigan. Findings suggest the rates of ‘poverty’ and ‘near poverty’ to be between 5 and 19% among working families, with slightly higher rates for the latter period. Public transfers combining taxes and means-tested supports, albeit making some impact among poor families with children, were unable to lower these rates. While the major socio-demographic characteristics of poverty and near poverty including large families with children and young, never married, single mother, and immigrant householders apply to working families, the roles of gender, race, marital status, and education manifest through many policy-related variables such as work hours, wages, and transfer incomes. These findings have important implications for understanding working poverty in Michigan and beyond. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

  • Individual Author: Heflin, Colleen M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2006

    An abundance of literature examines the dynamics of poverty, but little research considers the dynamics of material hardship. This work analyzes data from a welfare sample to determine how common experiences of material hardship are over time, if some forms of material hardship are more common than others, and if women experience multiple hardships. Data come from five waves of the Women’s Employment Study and measure six different forms of material hardship: food insufficiency, telephone disconnection, utility disconnection, unmet medical needs, improper winter clothing, and housing problems. This article finds that cross-sectional reports of material hardship are comparable with those found in other studies but that cumulative levels of hardship increase over time. Women also are likely to experience multiple forms of hardship over the observation period. This suggests that overall quality of life within these households is quite low at some point during the transition from welfare to work. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    An abundance of literature examines the dynamics of poverty, but little research considers the dynamics of material hardship. This work analyzes data from a welfare sample to determine how common experiences of material hardship are over time, if some forms of material hardship are more common than others, and if women experience multiple hardships. Data come from five waves of the Women’s Employment Study and measure six different forms of material hardship: food insufficiency, telephone disconnection, utility disconnection, unmet medical needs, improper winter clothing, and housing problems. This article finds that cross-sectional reports of material hardship are comparable with those found in other studies but that cumulative levels of hardship increase over time. Women also are likely to experience multiple forms of hardship over the observation period. This suggests that overall quality of life within these households is quite low at some point during the transition from welfare to work. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a discussion paper that was published by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

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