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  • Individual Author: Kato, Linda Y.; Bowie, Stan L.; Gardenhire, Alissa; Kaljee, Linda; Liebow, Edward B.; Miller, Jennifer ; O’Malley, Gabrielle; Robinson, Elinor
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Since 1997, the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families has been under way at seven public housing developments in six cities across the nation. This ambitious employment initiative seeks to significantly raise employment levels and earnings of residents living in low-work, high-welfare public housing developments. Operating from an on-site job center at each development, Jobs-Plus targets employment assistance, financial incentives, and community supports for work to all working-age, nondisabled residents of a development. None of the programs began as fully formed interventions, evolving instead over several years. But with the exception of the one at the Chattanooga site, which became a financial-incentives-only program, all of the programs now offer all three of the Jobs-Plus components. The chapters of this report provide “snapshot” descriptions of Jobs-Plus as it has been operating at each of the six demonstration sites as of the summer of 2002. (author abstract)

    Since 1997, the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families has been under way at seven public housing developments in six cities across the nation. This ambitious employment initiative seeks to significantly raise employment levels and earnings of residents living in low-work, high-welfare public housing developments. Operating from an on-site job center at each development, Jobs-Plus targets employment assistance, financial incentives, and community supports for work to all working-age, nondisabled residents of a development. None of the programs began as fully formed interventions, evolving instead over several years. But with the exception of the one at the Chattanooga site, which became a financial-incentives-only program, all of the programs now offer all three of the Jobs-Plus components. The chapters of this report provide “snapshot” descriptions of Jobs-Plus as it has been operating at each of the six demonstration sites as of the summer of 2002. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Martinez, John
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Public housing residents are commonly thought to be harder to employ than other low-income working-age populations, but detailed evidence on their actual employment experiences and difficulties is scarce. The dearth of information can hinder efforts by policymakers and administrators to reduce the high rates of poverty, joblessness, and related social problems found in many public housing developments across the country.

    This report helps to address the information gap by analyzing data from a special survey of residents in eight public housing developments (in seven cities) with customarily high rates of joblessness and reliance on welfare. These developments have been part of the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, an ambitious research demonstration project that aims to improve residents’ employment and quality-of-life outcomes. The survey, undertaken to collect baseline data about the communities and their residents just prior to the start of the Jobs-Plus program, sheds important light on how closely...

    Public housing residents are commonly thought to be harder to employ than other low-income working-age populations, but detailed evidence on their actual employment experiences and difficulties is scarce. The dearth of information can hinder efforts by policymakers and administrators to reduce the high rates of poverty, joblessness, and related social problems found in many public housing developments across the country.

    This report helps to address the information gap by analyzing data from a special survey of residents in eight public housing developments (in seven cities) with customarily high rates of joblessness and reliance on welfare. These developments have been part of the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, an ambitious research demonstration project that aims to improve residents’ employment and quality-of-life outcomes. The survey, undertaken to collect baseline data about the communities and their residents just prior to the start of the Jobs-Plus program, sheds important light on how closely residents were already connected to the labor market, what kinds of jobs they obtained, and why some residents worked or looked for work less than other residents.

    Key Findings

    • The survey of residents revealed a more extensive and varied connection to the labor market than had been expected, given the very low rates of employment that characterized the public housing developments in the years prior to their selection for Jobs-Plus in the mid-1990s. Slightly more than 90 percent had worked at some point in their lives, and a majority were either currently employed or searching for work at the time of the survey.
    • Many residents who worked did so only part time, and the majority were employed in low-wage jobs paying less than $7.75 per hour and offering no fringe benefits.
    • Health status was the factor most clearly associated with residents’ engagement in the labor market. Survey respondents who described themselves as having health problems were less likely than others to have had recent work experience or to engage in job search activities.
    • Even with extensive data, it is difficult to create statistical profiles that accurately differentiate survey respondents who can be characterized as easier to employ from those who are harder to employ. Across a wide range of measures — including demographic characteristics, incidence of domestic violence, and residents’ social networks — no consistent patterns emerged to distinguish which residents were most actively and least actively involved in the labor market.

    Building on these new insights into public housing residents’ relationship to the labor market, future studies will explore how financial incentives, employment services, and the reinforcement of community supports for work can increase residents’ success in the labor market. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Morris, Pamela; Jones, Stephanie; Smith, Jared
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    This paper begins to fill the information gap by capitalizing on the unique opportunity provided by the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, an ambitious research demonstration project that aims to improve residents’ employment status. Using data on nearly 1,500 children of public housing residents collected before the implementation of Jobs-Plus, the paper examines the well-being of children living in public housing developments and explores whether characteristics of their parents and the communities are associated with differences in the children’s outcomes.

    Key Findings

    On some, but not all, measures of school and behavioral outcomes, a substantial proportion of children living in public housing exhibited negative outcomes. As expected, older children and boys were at greater risk than younger children and girls.

    When compared with data on other children receiving welfare in selected states, children in the Jobs-Plus developments were shown to be at...

    This paper begins to fill the information gap by capitalizing on the unique opportunity provided by the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, an ambitious research demonstration project that aims to improve residents’ employment status. Using data on nearly 1,500 children of public housing residents collected before the implementation of Jobs-Plus, the paper examines the well-being of children living in public housing developments and explores whether characteristics of their parents and the communities are associated with differences in the children’s outcomes.

    Key Findings

    On some, but not all, measures of school and behavioral outcomes, a substantial proportion of children living in public housing exhibited negative outcomes. As expected, older children and boys were at greater risk than younger children and girls.

    When compared with data on other children receiving welfare in selected states, children in the Jobs-Plus developments were shown to be at only slightly greater risk of experiencing negative school and behavioral outcomes.

    Few associations were found between measures of the Jobs-Plus children’s well-being and their parents’ employment or welfare status.

    Parents’ mental health and experience with domestic abuse were associated with negative aspects of children’s schooling and behavior. However, contextual factors of the housing developments, such as the proportion of parents who had jobs, were not related to children’s outcomes.

    The data reported here provide a first look at the children in the Jobs-Plus demonstration communities. Further examination of the effects of the Jobs-Plus demonstration on child and adolescent development is planned as part of the evaluation project. This work will provide crucial information to our understanding of how neighborhood change, in combination with changes occurring within individual families, may affect the well-being of children in public housing. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Riccio, James A.; Bliss, Steven
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This policy brief is one in a continuing series that offers emerging insights from the Jobs-Plus demonstration. Sponsored by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The Rockefeller Foundation, and other public and private funders listed at the end of this document, Jobs-Plus is an intensive, “place-based” initiative for increasing employment among public housing residents. MDRC is managing the demonstration and evaluating the program. This brief describes the people and places Jobs-Plus is trying to help, and it outlines the demonstration’s principal goals and evolving strategies.

    The problem of concentrated poverty and joblessness in U.S. cities has intensified in recent decades, with the number of high-poverty neighborhoods more than doubling between 1970 and 1990. Poverty and unemployment are especially acute in public housing developments, many of which are among the most economically disadvantaged communities in the nation. In the current environment of time-limited welfare, the need to boost employment among families in public housing — many of whom have...

    This policy brief is one in a continuing series that offers emerging insights from the Jobs-Plus demonstration. Sponsored by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The Rockefeller Foundation, and other public and private funders listed at the end of this document, Jobs-Plus is an intensive, “place-based” initiative for increasing employment among public housing residents. MDRC is managing the demonstration and evaluating the program. This brief describes the people and places Jobs-Plus is trying to help, and it outlines the demonstration’s principal goals and evolving strategies.

    The problem of concentrated poverty and joblessness in U.S. cities has intensified in recent decades, with the number of high-poverty neighborhoods more than doubling between 1970 and 1990. Poverty and unemployment are especially acute in public housing developments, many of which are among the most economically disadvantaged communities in the nation. In the current environment of time-limited welfare, the need to boost employment among families in public housing — many of whom have long histories of welfare receipt — takes on special urgency. Yet in some cities welfare recipients living in public housing appear to be some of the hardest people to employ among welfare recipients and other low-income groups overall.

    Jobs-Plus is a national demonstration project designed to test a multifaceted approach to transforming low-work, high-welfare public housing developments into high-work, low-welfare communities. Initiated in 1996, Jobs-Plus aims to increase employment dramatically by integrating three components — extensive employment-related services, new financial work incentives, and a “community support for work” component — and targeting them toward all working-age residents of participating housing developments. By doing so, Jobs-Plus hopes to move large numbers of residents into steady employment and improve the quality of life in these developments. (author abstract)

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