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Urban Institute

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Reducing child poverty in the US: An updated analysis of policies proposed by the Children’s Defense Fund

Individual Author: 
Minton, Sarah
Giannarelli, Linda
Werner, Kevin
Tran, Victoria

This report examines the potential impacts of a set of antipoverty policies proposed by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). This work builds on a previous analysis completed for CDF (Giannarelli et al. 2015); additional details on that study are provided in appendix D of this report. The policies assessed for the current analysis include a minimum wage increase, a transitional jobs (TJ) program, expanded tax credits, increased availability of housing and child care subsidies, increased nutrition benefits, and changes to how benefit programs treat families’ child support income.

Expanding the EITC for workers without resident children

Individual Author: 
Maag, Elaine
Werner, Kevin
Wheaton, Laura

The federal earned income tax credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit that provides substantial benefits to low-income working families with children at home but little to those without resident children. But families without resident children also struggle, including noncustodial parents, who are often considered “childless” for tax purposes. We model a plan that would increase the maximum childless EITC to almost half the size of the maximum EITC for one-child families and that would begin to phase the childless EITC out at the same income level used for families with children.

Bridges to education and employment for justice-involved youth

Individual Author: 
Cramer, Lindsey
Lynch, Mathew
Goff, Margaret
Esthappan, Sino
Reginal, Travis
Leitson, David

This report documents evaluation findings of NYC Justice Corps, a workforce readiness and recidivism reduction program for justice-involved youth, and describes the strengths and challenges as perceived by program staff, participants, and stakeholders. The evaluation highlights what Justice Corps providers—and similar programs—might learn as they work to integrate the goals of education, employment, and cognitive and psychosocial development into program services and activities for justice-involved youth.

Precarious work schedules could jeopardize access to safety net programs targeted by work requirements

Individual Author: 
Karpman, Michael
Hahn, Heather
Gangopadhyaya, Anuj

Since 2017, policymakers have sought to establish or expand work requirements for participants in federal safety net programs. These policies generally require non-disabled adults to work or participate in work-related activities for a minimum number of hours per week or month to continue receiving benefits. Program participants must navigate these requirements within a low-wage job market in which just-in-time scheduling practices have resulted in unstable and unpredictable work hours for many employees.

Improving outcomes for transitional youth: Considerations for Pay for Success projects

Individual Author: 
Mitra-Majumdar, Mayookha
Fudge, Keith
Ramakrishnan, Kriti

Transitional youth are young people ages 16 to 24 who leave foster care without being adopted or reunited with their biological families and/or who are involved in the juvenile justice system, where they may be in detention or subject to terms of probation. With childhoods often marked by trauma and a lack of stability, transitional youth face notoriously poor outcomes across many areas of life. Pay for success (PFS) may provide an opportunity to address some of the challenges faced by transitional youth and the difficulties in serving them.

Economic mobility services for affordable housing residents: Exploring resident services as a vehicle for economic success

Individual Author: 
Burnstein, Eric
Gallagher, Megan
Oliver, Wilton

This report identifies services that help low-income individuals and households achieve upward economic mobility and explores how affordable housing providers offer them. We begin by presenting key economic mobility concepts and definitions. We then discuss the research evidence on interventions across sectors and disciplines that help individuals and households to achieve upward economic mobility. In the third section of this report, we present our findings from interviews with leading organizations and initiatives in the field.

Too far from jobs: Spatial mismatch and hourly workers

Individual Author: 
Stacy, Christina
Craigie, Terry-Ann
Meixell, Brady
MacDonald, Graham
Zheng, Sihan Vivian
Davis, Christopher
Baird, Christina
Chartoff, Ben
Hinson, David
Lei, Serena

In many cities, low-income residents live far from available jobs, and employers can’t find people to fill open positions. Economists call this “spatial mismatch”—a mismatch between where jobs are located and where job seekers live, which can cause high unemployment rates and lead to longer spells of joblessness. Data from Snag, the largest online marketplace for hourly jobs, show us that this is true for job seekers who use their platform.

National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) Series

Individual Author: 
The Urban Institute
Child Trends

Description: The National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) is part of The Urban Institute's Assessing the New Federalism (ANF) multi-year research project. Its purpose is to track the effects of recent federal policy changes decentralizing many social programs from the federal government to the states, focusing primarily on health care, income security, job training, and social services.

Financial distress among American families: Evidence from the Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey

Individual Author: 
Brown, K. Steven
Braga, Breno

Concern is growing among some analysts that recent economic growth in the US has not translated to economic well-being across the board. This study focuses on the share of Americans in financial distress in 2017, a year of relatively low unemployment. We find that a third of moderate-income adults experience financial insecurity in the past 12 months. In addition, one in eight of them say they must turn to high interest rate payday loans, auto title loans, or pawn shops to tide them over. (Author abstract)


Navigating work requirements in safety net programs

Individual Author: 
Hahn, Heather

Work-related requirements—such as employment, job search, job training, or community engagement activities—are currently a condition of eligibility for some safety net programs. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance and Medicaid each include work-related requirements in some states or localities for some beneficiaries. Recent proposals would expand or introduce new work requirements in these and other safety net programs, which offer vital supports for families to meet their basic needs.