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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: Rosenblatt, Peter; DeLuca, Stefanie
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    Over 20 years of scholarship suggests that living in America's poorest and most dangerous communities diminishes the life course development of children and adults. In the 1990s, the dire conditions of some of these neighborhoods, especially those with large public housing developments, prompted significant policy responses. In addition to the demolition and redevelopment of some of the projects, the federal government launched an experiment to help families leave poor neighborhoods through an assisted housing voucher program called Moving to Opportunity (MTO). While families who moved through this program initially relocated to census tracts with poverty rates almost four times lower than their original projects, many returned to communities of moderate to high poverty. Why? We use mixed methods to explore the patterns and the decision-making processes behind moves among MTO families. Focusing on the Baltimore MTO site, we find that traditional theories for residential choice did not fully explain these outcomes. While limited access to public transportation, housing quality...

    Over 20 years of scholarship suggests that living in America's poorest and most dangerous communities diminishes the life course development of children and adults. In the 1990s, the dire conditions of some of these neighborhoods, especially those with large public housing developments, prompted significant policy responses. In addition to the demolition and redevelopment of some of the projects, the federal government launched an experiment to help families leave poor neighborhoods through an assisted housing voucher program called Moving to Opportunity (MTO). While families who moved through this program initially relocated to census tracts with poverty rates almost four times lower than their original projects, many returned to communities of moderate to high poverty. Why? We use mixed methods to explore the patterns and the decision-making processes behind moves among MTO families. Focusing on the Baltimore MTO site, we find that traditional theories for residential choice did not fully explain these outcomes. While limited access to public transportation, housing quality problems, and landlords made it hard for families to move to, or stay in, low-poverty neighborhoods, there were also more striking explanations for their residential trajectories. Many families valued the low-poverty neighborhoods they were originally able to access with their vouchers, but when faced with the need to move again, they often sacrificed neighborhood quality for dwelling quality in order to accommodate changing family needs. Having lived in high-poverty neighborhoods most of their lives, they developed a number of coping strategies and beliefs that made them confident they could handle such a consequential trade-off and protect themselves and their children from the dangers of poorer areas. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Swanson, Josephine A. ; Olson, Christine M. ; Miller, Emily O. ; Lawrence, Frances C.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    Much of the research on low-income families, welfare, and self-sufficiency has focused on urban populations. Further, many of the studies on informal or social support available to and accessed by low-income families addressed needs such as childcare, transportation, money, or housing and did not focus on food issues. This paper focuses on how formal government food assistance programs and informal supports are utilized by rural low-income families as they work to meet their food needs. Drawing on interviews from the multi-state ‘‘Rural Families Speak’’ project, we examine food security in relation to the use of formal and informal supports. Additional analyses address how mothers view and describe their use of support to meet food needs. (author abstract)

    Much of the research on low-income families, welfare, and self-sufficiency has focused on urban populations. Further, many of the studies on informal or social support available to and accessed by low-income families addressed needs such as childcare, transportation, money, or housing and did not focus on food issues. This paper focuses on how formal government food assistance programs and informal supports are utilized by rural low-income families as they work to meet their food needs. Drawing on interviews from the multi-state ‘‘Rural Families Speak’’ project, we examine food security in relation to the use of formal and informal supports. Additional analyses address how mothers view and describe their use of support to meet food needs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hetling, Andrea; Born, Catherine E.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    Objective: The establishment of the Family Violence Option (FVO) in 1997 was met with some controversy, as critics believed waivers from time limit and work requirements would hinder women's ability to leave welfare and find employment. Method: Using administrative and interview data from Maryland, multivariate equations analyze if domestic violence disclosure, administrative documentation, or waiver use had a statistically significant affect on one year employment and welfare use outcomes of individuals. Results: Waiver holders did not differ from nonvictims, but victims who are not documented received fewer months of welfare and earned less income. Conclusions: Findings do not indicate that FVO waivers encourage women to stay on welfare longer. However, the poor outcomes of undocumented victims indicate that some individuals may be slipping through the cracks of a well-intentioned policy. (author abstract)

    Objective: The establishment of the Family Violence Option (FVO) in 1997 was met with some controversy, as critics believed waivers from time limit and work requirements would hinder women's ability to leave welfare and find employment. Method: Using administrative and interview data from Maryland, multivariate equations analyze if domestic violence disclosure, administrative documentation, or waiver use had a statistically significant affect on one year employment and welfare use outcomes of individuals. Results: Waiver holders did not differ from nonvictims, but victims who are not documented received fewer months of welfare and earned less income. Conclusions: Findings do not indicate that FVO waivers encourage women to stay on welfare longer. However, the poor outcomes of undocumented victims indicate that some individuals may be slipping through the cracks of a well-intentioned policy. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Rogers-Dillon, Robin; Haney, Lynne
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    The issue of dependency permeates the American welfare discourse. Although most of the 50 low-income women interviewed in this research study echoed the distain of dependency found in the broader welfare discourse, they overwhelmingly described actively cultivating some forms of interdependence. For example, many of the women used state childcare vouchers to channel resources into their family networks while simultaneously adhering to an ethic of family care for children. They found this reliance on state resources and family to be desirable—and in fact a sign of “independence”—because it enhanced the economic security of their families while preserving the physical and emotional safety of their children. In contrast, the women tended to view reliance on men as undesirable—a form of “dependence”—because it did not enhance their perceptions of security. Thus while the women talked about becoming independent, in fact they cultivated selective interdependencies to minimize their economic, emotional and physical vulnerability. Independence for our respondents was not a lack of...

    The issue of dependency permeates the American welfare discourse. Although most of the 50 low-income women interviewed in this research study echoed the distain of dependency found in the broader welfare discourse, they overwhelmingly described actively cultivating some forms of interdependence. For example, many of the women used state childcare vouchers to channel resources into their family networks while simultaneously adhering to an ethic of family care for children. They found this reliance on state resources and family to be desirable—and in fact a sign of “independence”—because it enhanced the economic security of their families while preserving the physical and emotional safety of their children. In contrast, the women tended to view reliance on men as undesirable—a form of “dependence”—because it did not enhance their perceptions of security. Thus while the women talked about becoming independent, in fact they cultivated selective interdependencies to minimize their economic, emotional and physical vulnerability. Independence for our respondents was not a lack of reliance on others but rather the ability to provide safety and security for themselves and their children. This analysis may shed some light on why welfare reform efforts aimed at increasing marriage rates have been less successful than those aimed at increasing employment rates. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Turney, Kristin; Kissane, Rebecca; Edin, Kathryn
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    A large body of nonexperimental literature finds residing in a disadvantaged neighborhood is deleterious for mental health, and recent evidence from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program—a social experiment giving families living in high-poverty neighborhoods the opportunity to move to low-poverty neighborhoods—suggests a causal effect of moving to a low-poverty neighborhood on adult mental health. We use qualitative data from 67 Baltimore adults who signed up for the MTO program to understand how moving to a low-poverty neighborhood produced these mental health benefits. First, we document the vast array of mental health challenges, traumatic experiences, and stressors reported by both experimentals (those who received a housing voucher to move to a low-poverty neighborhood) and controls (those who did not receive a voucher).We then explore how changes in the physical and social environments may have produced mental health benefits for experimentals. In particular, experimentals reported the following: improved neighborhood and home aesthetics, greater...

    A large body of nonexperimental literature finds residing in a disadvantaged neighborhood is deleterious for mental health, and recent evidence from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program—a social experiment giving families living in high-poverty neighborhoods the opportunity to move to low-poverty neighborhoods—suggests a causal effect of moving to a low-poverty neighborhood on adult mental health. We use qualitative data from 67 Baltimore adults who signed up for the MTO program to understand how moving to a low-poverty neighborhood produced these mental health benefits. First, we document the vast array of mental health challenges, traumatic experiences, and stressors reported by both experimentals (those who received a housing voucher to move to a low-poverty neighborhood) and controls (those who did not receive a voucher).We then explore how changes in the physical and social environments may have produced mental health benefits for experimentals. In particular, experimentals reported the following: improved neighborhood and home aesthetics, greater neighborhood collective efficacy and pride, less violence and criminal activity, and better environments for raising children. Notably, we also document increased sources of stress among experimentals, mostly associated with moving, making the positive effects of MTO on adult mental health all the more remarkable. These findings have important implications for both researchers and policymakers. (author abstract)

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