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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: Gubits, Daniel; Shinn, Marybeth; Wood, Michelle; Bell, Stephen; Dastrup, Samuel; Solari, Claudia D.; Brown, Scott R.; McInnis, Debi; McCall, Tom; Kattel, Utsav
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    The Family Options Study: Three-year Impacts of Housing and Services Interventions for Homeless Families documents the outcomes of the 2,282 formerly homeless study families approximately 37 months after having been randomly assigned to one of four housing and/or services interventions. The findings at 37-months in large part mirror the findings documented at 20 months, with the long-terms outcomes again demonstrating the power of a voucher to convey significantly improved housing outcomes to formerly homeless families, when compared with the housing outcomes of families offered other interventions. Families offered a permanent subsidy experienced less than half as many episodes of subsequent homelessness, and vast improvements across a broad set of measures related to residential stability. Many of the non-housing outcomes of interest that were strongly influenced by the offer of a voucher in the short-term, such as reductions in psychological distress and intimate partner violence, are still detected, but some positive impacts found at the 20-month followup are not detected at...

    The Family Options Study: Three-year Impacts of Housing and Services Interventions for Homeless Families documents the outcomes of the 2,282 formerly homeless study families approximately 37 months after having been randomly assigned to one of four housing and/or services interventions. The findings at 37-months in large part mirror the findings documented at 20 months, with the long-terms outcomes again demonstrating the power of a voucher to convey significantly improved housing outcomes to formerly homeless families, when compared with the housing outcomes of families offered other interventions. Families offered a permanent subsidy experienced less than half as many episodes of subsequent homelessness, and vast improvements across a broad set of measures related to residential stability. Many of the non-housing outcomes of interest that were strongly influenced by the offer of a voucher in the short-term, such as reductions in psychological distress and intimate partner violence, are still detected, but some positive impacts found at the 20-month followup are not detected at the longer, 37-month followup. For example, 20 months after random assignment, assignment to SUB reduced the proportion of families with child separations in the 6 months before the survey--this effect was not detected in the 6 months before the 37-month survey. Also in this longer window of observation, some positive impacts in the child well-being domain have emerged. Families offered a voucher continue to be significantly more food secure and experience significantly less economic stress than families offered the other interventions. On measures of employment and earnings, the modest negative impacts of vouchers relative to usual care have fallen, although some remain statistically significant. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Paulsell, Diane; Noyes, Jennifer L.; Selekman, Rebekah; Klein Vogel, Lisa; Sattar, Samina; Nerad, Benjamin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    In fall 2012, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) within the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Project (CSPED) to identify effective approaches to enabling low-income noncustodial parents to pay their child support. OCSE competitively awarded grants to child support agencies in eight states to provide enhanced child support, employment, parenting, and case management services to noncustodial parents having difficulty meeting child support obligations. Grantees partnered with community organizations to deliver employment and parenting services. The Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin and Mathematica Policy Research are conducting an evaluation of CSPED that includes an impact study, an implementation study, and a benefit-cost study. This report presents early implementation findings from the first two years of the demonstration. (Author abstract)

    In fall 2012, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) within the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration Project (CSPED) to identify effective approaches to enabling low-income noncustodial parents to pay their child support. OCSE competitively awarded grants to child support agencies in eight states to provide enhanced child support, employment, parenting, and case management services to noncustodial parents having difficulty meeting child support obligations. Grantees partnered with community organizations to deliver employment and parenting services. The Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin and Mathematica Policy Research are conducting an evaluation of CSPED that includes an impact study, an implementation study, and a benefit-cost study. This report presents early implementation findings from the first two years of the demonstration. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gardiner, Karen; Martinson, Karin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    There is longstanding interest among policy makers and program operators in finding ways to increase the skill levels of low-income individuals, improve their enrollment in and completion of post-secondary education, and improve their economic prospects. The career pathways approach is gaining steady acceptance as a promising strategy to address these challenges and improve post-secondary education and training for low-income and low-skilled adults.

    This summary is an easy-to-read overview of the Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self-Sufficiency project; a major national effort to evaluate the effectiveness of nine career pathways programs using an experimental design. the ISIS study. The summary includes the frame career pathway programming, the promise of these programs, and a list of the nine programs being evaluated in the study. (author abstract)

    There is longstanding interest among policy makers and program operators in finding ways to increase the skill levels of low-income individuals, improve their enrollment in and completion of post-secondary education, and improve their economic prospects. The career pathways approach is gaining steady acceptance as a promising strategy to address these challenges and improve post-secondary education and training for low-income and low-skilled adults.

    This summary is an easy-to-read overview of the Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self-Sufficiency project; a major national effort to evaluate the effectiveness of nine career pathways programs using an experimental design. the ISIS study. The summary includes the frame career pathway programming, the promise of these programs, and a list of the nine programs being evaluated in the study. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hoxby, Caroline; Turner, Sarah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Only a minority of high-achieving, low-income students apply to colleges in the same way that other high-achieving students do: applying to several selective colleges whose curriculum is designed for students with a level of achievement like their own. This is despite the fact that selective colleges typically cost them high-achieving, low-income students less while offering them more generous resources than the non-selective postsecondary institutions they mainly attend. In previous work, we demonstrate that the vast majority of high-achieving, low-income students are unlikely to be reached by traditional methods of informing students about their college opportunities since such methods require the students to be concentrated geographically. In this study, we use a randomized controlled trial to evaluate interventions that provide students with semi-customized information on the application process and colleges' net costs. The interventions also provide students with no-paperwork application fee waivers. The ECO Comprehensive (ECO-C) Intervention costs about $6 per student, and...

    Only a minority of high-achieving, low-income students apply to colleges in the same way that other high-achieving students do: applying to several selective colleges whose curriculum is designed for students with a level of achievement like their own. This is despite the fact that selective colleges typically cost them high-achieving, low-income students less while offering them more generous resources than the non-selective postsecondary institutions they mainly attend. In previous work, we demonstrate that the vast majority of high-achieving, low-income students are unlikely to be reached by traditional methods of informing students about their college opportunities since such methods require the students to be concentrated geographically. In this study, we use a randomized controlled trial to evaluate interventions that provide students with semi-customized information on the application process and colleges' net costs. The interventions also provide students with no-paperwork application fee waivers. The ECO Comprehensive (ECO-C) Intervention costs about $6 per student, and we find that it causes high-achieving, low-income students to apply and be admitted to more colleges, especially those with high graduation rates and generous instructional resources. The students respond to their enlarged opportunity sets by enrolling in colleges that have stronger academic records, higher graduation rates, and more generous resources. Their freshman grades are as good as the control students', despite the fact that the control students attend less selective colleges and therefore compete with peers whose incoming preparation is substantially inferior. Benefit-to-cost ratios for the ECO-C Intervention are extremely high, even under the most conservative assumptions. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Butler, David; Alson, Julianna; Bloom, Dan; Deitch, Victoria; Hill, Aaron; Hsueh, JoAnn; Jacobs, Erin; Kim, Sue; McRoberts, Reanin; Redcross, Cindy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In the context of a public safety net focused on limiting dependency and encouraging participation in the labor market, policymakers and researchers are especially interested in individuals who face obstacles to finding and keeping jobs. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project was a 10-year study that evaluated innovative strategies aimed at improving employment and other outcomes for groups who face serious barriers to employment. The project was sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. This report describes the HtE programs and summarizes the final results for each program. Additionally, it presents information for three sites from the ACF-sponsored Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project where hard-to-employ populations were also targeted.

    Three of the eight models that are described here led to increases in employment. Two of the three...

    In the context of a public safety net focused on limiting dependency and encouraging participation in the labor market, policymakers and researchers are especially interested in individuals who face obstacles to finding and keeping jobs. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project was a 10-year study that evaluated innovative strategies aimed at improving employment and other outcomes for groups who face serious barriers to employment. The project was sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. This report describes the HtE programs and summarizes the final results for each program. Additionally, it presents information for three sites from the ACF-sponsored Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project where hard-to-employ populations were also targeted.

    Three of the eight models that are described here led to increases in employment. Two of the three — large-scale programs that provided temporary, subsidized "transitional" jobs to facilitate entry into the workforce for long-term welfare recipients in one program and for ex-prisoners in the other — produced only short-term gains in employment, driven mainly by the transitional jobs themselves. The third one — a welfare-to-work program that provided unpaid work experience, job placement, and education services to recipients with health conditions — had longer-term gains, increasing employment and reducing the amount of cash assistance received over four years. Promising findings were also observed in other sites. An early-childhood development program that was combined with services to boost parents’ self-sufficiency increased employment and earnings for a subgroup of the study participants and increased the use of high-quality child care; the program for ex-prisoners mentioned above decreased recidivism; and an intervention for low-income parents with depression produced short-term increases in the use of in-person treatment. But other programs — case management services for low-income substance abusers and two employment strategies for welfare recipients — revealed no observed impacts.

    While these results are mixed, some directions for future research on the hard-to-employ emerged:

    • The findings from the evaluations of transitional jobs programs have influenced the design of two new federal subsidized employment initiatives, which are seeking to test approaches that may achieve longer-lasting effects.
    • The HtE evaluation illustrates some key challenges that early childhood education programs may face when adding self-sufficiency services for parents, and provides important lessons for implementation that can guide future two-generational programs for low-income parents and their young children.
    • Results from the HtE evaluation suggest future strategies for enhancing and adapting an intervention to help parents with depression that may benefit low-income populations.
    • Evidence from the HtE evaluation of employment strategies for welfare recipients along with other research indicates that combining work-focused strategies with treatment or services may be more promising than using either strategy alone, especially for people with disabilities and behavioral health problems.

    (author abstract)

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