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Urban Institute

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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.

Increasing access to quality child care for four priority populations: Challenges and opportunities with CCDBG reauthorization

Individual Author: 
Henly, Julia R.
Adams, Gina

In recent decades, policymakers have increasingly focused on the importance of high-quality child care and early education services in supporting the development of low-income children. Though highquality early care and education (ECE) can exist in any setting—including child care centers, family child care programs, and other home-based care arrangements—the emphasis on high-quality ECE services has often translated into a singular focus on investing public funds in formal settings, especially centerbased programs.

New measures of student poverty: Replacing free and reduced-price lunch status based on household forms with direct certification

Individual Author: 
Greenberg, Erica

Free and reduced-price lunch status has long been used as a proxy measure for student poverty. This brief offers a short history of school lunch and its recent decline as a measure of economic disadvantage. It then provides a primer on “direct certification,” the most promising alternative, which links student enrollment with public benefits data to directly assess students’ household income. Under direct certification, eligibility rules, application, and eligibility determination procedures of public benefits programs take on new importance in affecting counts of low-income students.

Father reentry and child outcomes

Individual Author: 
Craigie, Terry-Ann
Pratt, Eleanor
McDaniel, Marla

More than 2.7 million children have an incarcerated parent, and many more have experienced a parent’s incarceration at some point. Research finds that parental incarceration negatively affects children’s physical, mental, and emotional health. One might presume that child outcomes improve when a parent returns from incarceration, but the evidence shows that reentry can be difficult for parents and their children.