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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: Bloom, Howard S.; Riccio, James A.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    This article describes a place-based research demonstration program to promote and sustain employment among residents of selected public housing developments in six U.S. cities. Because all eligible residents of the participating public housing developments were free to take part in the program, it was not possible to study its impacts in a classical experiment, with random assignment of individual residents to the program or a control group. Instead, the impact analysis is based on a design that selected matched groups of two or three public housing developments in each participating city and randomly assigned one to the program and the other(s) to a control group. In addition, an eleven-year comparative interrupted time-series analysis is being used to strengthen the place-based random assignment design. Preliminary analyses of baseline data suggest that this two-pronged approach will provide credible estimates of program impacts. (author abstract)

    This article describes a place-based research demonstration program to promote and sustain employment among residents of selected public housing developments in six U.S. cities. Because all eligible residents of the participating public housing developments were free to take part in the program, it was not possible to study its impacts in a classical experiment, with random assignment of individual residents to the program or a control group. Instead, the impact analysis is based on a design that selected matched groups of two or three public housing developments in each participating city and randomly assigned one to the program and the other(s) to a control group. In addition, an eleven-year comparative interrupted time-series analysis is being used to strengthen the place-based random assignment design. Preliminary analyses of baseline data suggest that this two-pronged approach will provide credible estimates of program impacts. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bloom, H.; Riccio, J.; Verma, N.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    Can a multicomponent employment initiative that is located in public housing developments help residents work, earn more money, and improve their quality of life? The Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families (Jobs-Plus, for short) sought to achieve these goals at selected public housing developments in six cities: Baltimore, Chattanooga, Dayton, Los Angeles, St. Paul, and Seattle. Jobs-Plus was conducted as a research demonstration project from 1998 to 2003 with sponsorship from a consortium of funders, led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rockefeller Foundation. The program — which was targeted to all working-age, nondisabled residents of selected public housing developments and implemented by a collaboration of local organizations — had three main components: employment-related services, rent-based work incentives that allowed residents to keep more of their earnings, and activities to promote neighbor-to-neighbor support for work. This final report on MDRC’s evaluation of Jobs-Plus describes the program’s impacts...

    Can a multicomponent employment initiative that is located in public housing developments help residents work, earn more money, and improve their quality of life? The Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families (Jobs-Plus, for short) sought to achieve these goals at selected public housing developments in six cities: Baltimore, Chattanooga, Dayton, Los Angeles, St. Paul, and Seattle. Jobs-Plus was conducted as a research demonstration project from 1998 to 2003 with sponsorship from a consortium of funders, led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rockefeller Foundation. The program — which was targeted to all working-age, nondisabled residents of selected public housing developments and implemented by a collaboration of local organizations — had three main components: employment-related services, rent-based work incentives that allowed residents to keep more of their earnings, and activities to promote neighbor-to-neighbor support for work. This final report on MDRC’s evaluation of Jobs-Plus describes the program’s impacts, that is, the difference it made for residents in Jobs-Plus developments in comparison with residents living in similar developments who did not receive the program. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kato, Linda Yuriko
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    Is it possible for an employment program to engage public housing residents in services and activities by tapping the social networks that exist in their developments? The Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing (“Jobs-Plus” for short), a multifaceted effort to use rent incentives, job counseling, and other inducements to help increase residents’ employment and earnings, attempted this approach. One of the program's most distinctive features, a unique component called “community support for work,” focused on the recruitment of outreach workers from among the residents of seven public housing developments. The aim was to harness the knowledge and relationships of resident leaders to advance the employment goals of Jobs-Plus. Jobs-Plus administrators identified and trained resident outreach workers to serve as bridges between their neighbors and professional program staff. Mobilizing residents in this way extended Jobs-Plus’s reach in the community by facilitating neighbor-to-neighbor exchanges about program services, rent policies, and job opportunities....

    Is it possible for an employment program to engage public housing residents in services and activities by tapping the social networks that exist in their developments? The Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing (“Jobs-Plus” for short), a multifaceted effort to use rent incentives, job counseling, and other inducements to help increase residents’ employment and earnings, attempted this approach. One of the program's most distinctive features, a unique component called “community support for work,” focused on the recruitment of outreach workers from among the residents of seven public housing developments. The aim was to harness the knowledge and relationships of resident leaders to advance the employment goals of Jobs-Plus. Jobs-Plus administrators identified and trained resident outreach workers to serve as bridges between their neighbors and professional program staff. Mobilizing residents in this way extended Jobs-Plus’s reach in the community by facilitating neighbor-to-neighbor exchanges about program services, rent policies, and job opportunities.

    Key Findings

    Outreach workers added to Jobs-Plus’s credibility among the larger tenant population. By giving the program a familiar “face,” outreach workers helped make Jobs-Plus more accessible to fellow residents and boosted turnout for program services and activities. At ethnically diverse developments, outreach workers from different language groups brought wary immigrants into Jobs-Plus.

    Recruitment of outreach workers had to be selective and ongoing. Jobs-Plus aimed to enlist widely respected and well-connected residents who were employed, participating in job-related training or studies, or retired, and who were eager to help the community. Recruiting such people was not easy, and maintaining an effective team of outreach workers required sustained efforts, as many workers moved out of their developments or went to work.

    Formal program oversight of the community support for work component was essential. Outreach workers were extensions of the program, not an independent resident association. To keep them energetically focused on Jobs-Plus’s employment goals, the sites found it important to pay the outreach workers a stipend for their efforts; assign staff to supervise them; and equip them with task-specific training about program services, outreach skills, and team building.

    Maintaining outreach workers’ independence from the housing authority was challenging but critical to their effectiveness. Because outreach workers were employed by Jobs-Plus, some residents suspected them of being agents of the housing authority. Their positions required careful training in confidentiality issues and their assignment to perform tasks that would not compromise their standing in the community. Serious public-safety issues at some sites also hindered them from going freely door-to-door.

    The Jobs-Plus community support for work component offered residents new possibilities for civic leadership development. In Los Angeles, the outreach workers demonstrated that a community support for work component could further the development of residents’ leadership potential. The skills derived from their Jobs-Plus experience enabled outreach workers to take the lead in bringing an array of services on-site and to sustain high turnout- and completion-levels for education and training courses. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Verma, Nandita
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Resident mobility can potentially influence the success of place-based self-sufficiency initiatives. Yet, relatively little is known about these patterns, especially among residents of public housing. This dearth of information makes it difficult to implement and evaluate programs that seek to address the self-sufficiency barriers of residents of low-income communities. This paper begins to fill this knowledge gap by examining the intended and actual out-migration patterns of a cohort of residents of five public housing developments participating in the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families ("Jobs-Plus" for short), a multisite initiative to raise residents' employment outcomes.

    The baseline survey and public housing authority administrative records data gathered for the Jobs-Plus evaluation offer a unique opportunity for an unusually detailed analysis of public housing mobility. Jobs-Plus targeted residents living in public housing developments characterized by concentrated joblessness and welfare receipt, and the findings from this...

    Resident mobility can potentially influence the success of place-based self-sufficiency initiatives. Yet, relatively little is known about these patterns, especially among residents of public housing. This dearth of information makes it difficult to implement and evaluate programs that seek to address the self-sufficiency barriers of residents of low-income communities. This paper begins to fill this knowledge gap by examining the intended and actual out-migration patterns of a cohort of residents of five public housing developments participating in the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families ("Jobs-Plus" for short), a multisite initiative to raise residents' employment outcomes.

    The baseline survey and public housing authority administrative records data gathered for the Jobs-Plus evaluation offer a unique opportunity for an unusually detailed analysis of public housing mobility. Jobs-Plus targeted residents living in public housing developments characterized by concentrated joblessness and welfare receipt, and the findings from this paper should be viewed within this context. Drawing on a sample of 1,123 nondisabled, nonelderly household heads who completed a baseline survey before the implementation of Jobs-Plus, this paper attempts to draw insights about resident mobility in places frequently targeted by community initiatives by examining these key questions: Do public housing residents move a great deal? Do they want to move? And what factors differentiate the movers from the stayers?

    Key Findings

    A significant proportion of residents (29 percent) moved out of the Jobs-Plus developments within two years of completing the baseline interview in 1997. The tendency to move varied considerably across the five Jobs-Plus developments, ranging from a high of 44 percent in Day-ton's De Soto Bass Courts to a low of 16 percent in Los Angeles's William Mead Homes.

    Expectations of moving out ran very high among Jobs-Plus residents. Counter to the expectations, fewer than half of those intending to move were able to make that transition during the two-year follow-up period for this paper.

    On average, the typical "mover" had lived in a Jobs-Plus development for less than six years, and compared to residents who stayed, was less likely to report employment barriers, and was more likely to express dissatisfaction with the social and physical conditions in the development and the neighborhood at large. Movers were also more likely to report having experienced episodes of crime and violence.

    Economic self-sufficiency (that is, having access to savings and not receiving public assistance), concerns about keeping children engaged in constructive activities, and experiences of violence are key predictors of the probability of moving out.

    The above findings have broad relevance for community initiatives, which have become an increasingly popular approach for addressing spatially concentrated poverty and unemployment. Given the mobility dynamics of residents of poor neighborhoods and public housing developments, program staff and evaluators will need to pay special attention to both the levels of mobility experienced in potential target areas and the types of residents moving out and understand the implications of such mobility for generating program-related positive spillovers for the community. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kato, Linda Yuriko
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Is it feasible to engage large numbers of public housing residents when employment services are offered right in their own housing developments? This is one of the many questions that the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families (“Jobs-Plus” for short) is trying to answer. Since 1998, Jobs-Plus has been under way in six cities in an attempt to raise the employment and earnings of residents of “low-work, high-welfare” public housing developments. Jobs-Plus offers residents employment-related services, rent reforms and other financial work incentives that help to “make work pay,” and community support to strengthen work-sustaining activities among residents. Operating on-site at the developments and offering service referrals to off-site partner agencies, Jobs-Plus seeks to inform all working-age residents about its services and to accommodate all who come forward for help.

     Key Findings

    • Implementation challenges. Program operators had to overcome residents’ entrenched...

    Is it feasible to engage large numbers of public housing residents when employment services are offered right in their own housing developments? This is one of the many questions that the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families (“Jobs-Plus” for short) is trying to answer. Since 1998, Jobs-Plus has been under way in six cities in an attempt to raise the employment and earnings of residents of “low-work, high-welfare” public housing developments. Jobs-Plus offers residents employment-related services, rent reforms and other financial work incentives that help to “make work pay,” and community support to strengthen work-sustaining activities among residents. Operating on-site at the developments and offering service referrals to off-site partner agencies, Jobs-Plus seeks to inform all working-age residents about its services and to accommodate all who come forward for help.

     Key Findings

    • Implementation challenges. Program operators had to overcome residents’ entrenched skepticism; contend with crime and safety problems; and address wide variations in residents’ employment histories, cultural backgrounds, and service needs. Efforts to address these problems diverted staff energies away from the program’s immediate employment goals.
    • Saturation. The sites achieved widespread awareness of Jobs-Plus among the target group of residents, enlisting some of them as outreach workers to play a key role in enhancing the program’s profile and credibility among their neighbors.
    • Residents’ engagement. Initial delays in implementing some features of Jobs-Plus added to the challenge of getting residents to embrace the program. However, as of June 2001, over half the targeted working-age residents across the sites had officially attached themselves to Jobs-Plus either as individual enrollees or as members of a household that received rent incentives. As additional Jobs-Plus services and program components became available over time, attachment rates increased among the targeted populations. Jobs-Plus’s place-based approach also permitted the site staff to assist residents in a variety of informal ways that proved critical to the program’s appeal.
    • Contrasting site experiences. Variations in residents’ participation from site to site were influenced primarily by organizational factors, including differences in the sites’ ability to achieve stable program leadership, adequate professional staffing, and continuous support of the local housing authority. At the Dayton and St. Paul sites, an impressive 69 percent and 78 percent of targeted residents, respectively, became attached to Jobs-Plus; by contrast, at the Chattanooga site and at one of the two sites in Los Angeles, only 48 percent and 33 percent of residents were attached to the program.

    This report presents recommendations for how housing authorities and their partner agencies can implement Jobs-Plus’s offer of on-site employment assistance. It describes practical steps that can be taken to promote employment as an expectation that comes with tenancy among working-age residents and to mobilize community resources to address residents’ employment needs. The lessons of this report are also applicable to other place-based employment initiatives that strive to be more accessible and more responsive to residents by locating in low-income communities outside of public housing. (author abstract)

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