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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: Williams, Trina R.
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2003

    Economic inequality may be an enduring reality. A few persons have large amounts of money and wealth, much of which they will retain to pass along to their children or other inheritors. Most others may have a regular income to make ends meet, but could not survive long without a paycheck. And in the latter group, only those that are prudent or fortunate might have a small amount of remaining wealth to pass along to their children. Still others own almost nothing, sometimes do not have enough income to survive from week to week, and often depend upon the generosity of others, leaving nothing to pass along to children. An important question is how public policy might affect this mix. Asset building policy is one strategy for reducing wealth inequality in that it focuses on generating access to tangible resources and recognized pathways of mobility and opportunity. The goal is to break cycles of disadvantage so that individuals can participate more fully in the economy. And with more participation, families would perhaps even have sufficient wealth to pass on to future generations....

    Economic inequality may be an enduring reality. A few persons have large amounts of money and wealth, much of which they will retain to pass along to their children or other inheritors. Most others may have a regular income to make ends meet, but could not survive long without a paycheck. And in the latter group, only those that are prudent or fortunate might have a small amount of remaining wealth to pass along to their children. Still others own almost nothing, sometimes do not have enough income to survive from week to week, and often depend upon the generosity of others, leaving nothing to pass along to children. An important question is how public policy might affect this mix. Asset building policy is one strategy for reducing wealth inequality in that it focuses on generating access to tangible resources and recognized pathways of mobility and opportunity. The goal is to break cycles of disadvantage so that individuals can participate more fully in the economy. And with more participation, families would perhaps even have sufficient wealth to pass on to future generations. Such opportunity to build assets is exactly the opposite of the sedimentation of inequality that Melvin Oliver and Tom Shapiro (1995) demonstrate has existed over time for African Americans, leading to intergenerational inequities and a lack of wealth that continue to exist. This paper will present a study of the Homestead Act that highlights the intergenerational nature of wealth and its long-term implications. After introducing historical background, this paper will consider empirical data about the number of homesteads granted over the relevant 75-year period and their estimated long-term impact. Studying this historic policy can provide insights to the relevance of asset-building policy for today. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Johnson, Cathy Marie; Gais, Thomas Lewis; Lawrence, Catherine
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2002

    This paper revisits 1997-98 findings that indicated that during the first years of state implementation of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), States were most likely to implement the environment theory, which claims that children benefit socially and psychologically from being part of a household in which caregivers have jobs, and less likely to create policies, programs, structures, and processes that put the resource and family structure theories into effect. The resource theory holds that children benefit from an increase in economic resources, and the family structure theory contends that children are negatively affected when raised in single-parent families. It uses two additional rounds of field research, focusing on 16 States. In States with high rates of child poverty, TANF policies continue to be most consistent with the environment theory. States have adopted policies emphasizing going to work and staying off or getting off public assistance. Their policies about work requirements and TANF work programs are very similar to those of states with low child...

    This paper revisits 1997-98 findings that indicated that during the first years of state implementation of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), States were most likely to implement the environment theory, which claims that children benefit socially and psychologically from being part of a household in which caregivers have jobs, and less likely to create policies, programs, structures, and processes that put the resource and family structure theories into effect. The resource theory holds that children benefit from an increase in economic resources, and the family structure theory contends that children are negatively affected when raised in single-parent families. It uses two additional rounds of field research, focusing on 16 States. In States with high rates of child poverty, TANF policies continue to be most consistent with the environment theory. States have adopted policies emphasizing going to work and staying off or getting off public assistance. Their policies about work requirements and TANF work programs are very similar to those of states with low child poverty. Unlike states with low child poverty, however, these States have not expanded the resources made available to poor families to nearly the same degree. Although it might be argued that many states have expanded work supports and other resources for working families since the first years of TANF implementation, this tendency is much weaker among the states where most poor children reside. All States have done relatively little with respect to family structure theory, although States with high child poverty devote more money to such policies. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: U.S. Congress
    Reference Type: Statute
    Year: 1974

    This statute created the Community Development Block Grant program merging numerous categorical programs into one block of community development funds distributed each year by formula, accounting for population and measures of distress including poverty, age of housing, housing overcrowding, and growth lag. 

    Public Law No.93-383  (1974). 

     

    This statute created the Community Development Block Grant program merging numerous categorical programs into one block of community development funds distributed each year by formula, accounting for population and measures of distress including poverty, age of housing, housing overcrowding, and growth lag. 

    Public Law No.93-383  (1974). 

     

  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Hendra, Richard
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Although much is known about how to help welfare recipients find jobs, little is known about how to help them and other low-wage workers keep jobs or advance in the labor market. This report assesses the implementation and two-year follow-up effects of a program in Texas that aimed to promote job placement, employment retention, and advancement among applicants and recipients in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The Texas program is part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which is testing 15 such programs across the country. The ERA project is being conducted by MDRC, under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

    To encourage employment retention and advancement among working TANF leavers, the Texas ERA program provided job search assistance, pre- and postemployment case management, and a monthly stipend of $200. The program was evaluated in three sites — Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, and Houston — starting in 2000. The ERA evaluation uses a...

    Although much is known about how to help welfare recipients find jobs, little is known about how to help them and other low-wage workers keep jobs or advance in the labor market. This report assesses the implementation and two-year follow-up effects of a program in Texas that aimed to promote job placement, employment retention, and advancement among applicants and recipients in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The Texas program is part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which is testing 15 such programs across the country. The ERA project is being conducted by MDRC, under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

    To encourage employment retention and advancement among working TANF leavers, the Texas ERA program provided job search assistance, pre- and postemployment case management, and a monthly stipend of $200. The program was evaluated in three sites — Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, and Houston — starting in 2000. The ERA evaluation uses a random assignment research design: Through a lottery-like process, eligible individuals were assigned either to a program group, whose members participated in the ERA program, or to a control group, whose members participated in Texas’s standard welfare-to-work program (called “Choices”). The control group’s outcomes tell what would have happened in the absence of the ERA program, providing benchmarks against which to compare the program group. (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)

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