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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: Waller, Margy; Hughes, Mark A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    Transportation assistance for low-income workers is complex, expensive, and rife with unintended consequences. Policymakers confuse ends and means when job access strategies are too focused on public transit systems. The policy challenge is helping low-income workers get to distant jobs on difficult schedules, but too often both policymakers and decisionmakers act as if the challenge is devising a way to make public transit "good enough" to serve the reverse commutes of low-income workers. This represents both a bias and a blind spot. The bias lies in our willingness to consign poor people to barely functioning public systems from which higher-income citizens routinely withdraw (as in public schools, public health, public safety, and public space). The bias is expressed in the overheard comment of one senior official from a national public transit organization, "Show me a thirty-year-old man on a bus,; and I'll show you a failure."

    The blind spot is cars. In most cases, the shortest distance between a poor person and a job is along a line driven...

    Transportation assistance for low-income workers is complex, expensive, and rife with unintended consequences. Policymakers confuse ends and means when job access strategies are too focused on public transit systems. The policy challenge is helping low-income workers get to distant jobs on difficult schedules, but too often both policymakers and decisionmakers act as if the challenge is devising a way to make public transit "good enough" to serve the reverse commutes of low-income workers. This represents both a bias and a blind spot. The bias lies in our willingness to consign poor people to barely functioning public systems from which higher-income citizens routinely withdraw (as in public schools, public health, public safety, and public space). The bias is expressed in the overheard comment of one senior official from a national public transit organization, "Show me a thirty-year-old man on a bus,; and I'll show you a failure."

    The blind spot is cars. In most cases, the shortest distance between a poor person and a job is along a line driven in a car. Prosperity in America has always been strongly related to mobility and poor people work hard for access to opportunities. For both the rural and inner-city poor, access means being able to reach the prosperous suburbs of our booming metropolitan economies, and mobility means having the private automobile necessary for the trip. The most important response to the policy challenge of job access for those leaving welfare is the continued and expanded use of cars by low-income workers. Across the country, state and local decisionmakers are inventing new programs to do just that and devising new ways that public funds can help.

    This report presents survey and field research on the ten states with the largest (as of January 1998) numbers of families receiving assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant (TANF), which is a mix of federal and matching state funds. (Throughout this report, we use TANF to refer to both state and federal funds.) These ten states collectively represent two-thirds of the national caseload: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. The authors surveyed officials in a variety of; relevant state departments and interviewed local officials and public transit operators in cities and rural counties; throughout the ten states. This research informs both their analysis of transportation assistance and recommendations to policymakers. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Sanchez, Thomas W.
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 1999

    Little evidence exists regarding the relationship between transit service availability and the; ability of welfare recipients to find stable employment. While policy-makers continue to assert; that increased public transit mobility can positively affect employment status, there is little; empirical evidence to support this theory. It is generally assumed that public transit can; effectively link unemployed, car-less, persons with appropriate job locations. Out of these; assumptions, it is a common belief that if adequate transit were available, the likelihood of being; employed would increase. Hence, the call for more transit services to assist moving welfare; recipients to gainful employment. Thus far the available evidence is anecdotal, while general; patterns of transit access and labor participation remain relatively unexplored. This analysis; examines whether transit access service is less available to Temporary Assistance for Needy; Families (TANF) recipients in the City of Portland, Oregon. The analysis uses disaggregate; TANF recipient location data from the State of...

    Little evidence exists regarding the relationship between transit service availability and the; ability of welfare recipients to find stable employment. While policy-makers continue to assert; that increased public transit mobility can positively affect employment status, there is little; empirical evidence to support this theory. It is generally assumed that public transit can; effectively link unemployed, car-less, persons with appropriate job locations. Out of these; assumptions, it is a common belief that if adequate transit were available, the likelihood of being; employed would increase. Hence, the call for more transit services to assist moving welfare; recipients to gainful employment. Thus far the available evidence is anecdotal, while general; patterns of transit access and labor participation remain relatively unexplored. This analysis; examines whether transit access service is less available to Temporary Assistance for Needy; Families (TANF) recipients in the City of Portland, Oregon. The analysis uses disaggregate; TANF recipient location data from the State of Oregon, Department of Adult and Family; Services; transit route/stop data from Tri-Met; block group census data; and disaggregate; employment location data within a geographic information system (GIS). GIS capabilities are; essential in performing network accessibility analyses and for analyzing spatial patterns of; TANF recipient locations and employment locations. The results of this analysis provide an; assessment of the availability and quality of transit service for TANF recipients. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Freedman, Stephen; Mitchell, Marisa; Navarro, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    This report presents first-year participation and impact findings from the evaluation of the Los Angeles Jobs-First GAIN (Greater Avenues for Independence) program, the largest county welfare-to-work program in the nation. Consistent with the philosophy and goals of the 1996 federal welfare reform legislation that created TANF, Los Angeles Jobs-First GAIN emphasizes job search assistance and imparts a strong pro-work message in attempting to move thousands of AFDC/TANF recipients quickly into jobs and, as soon as feasible, off the welfare rolls. This message and emphasis place Jobs-First GAIN in the category of Work First programs, the approach followed by most current state and local welfare-to-work programs. Most of the features of Jobs-First GAIN continue under CalWORKs, California’s program under the TANF provisions. Los Angeles inaugurated its CalWORKs program in April 1998, after the follow-up period for this report. The findings on Jobs-First GAIN have broad significance for welfare reform. Los Angeles County, with a total population of 9.6 million people, has the largest...

    This report presents first-year participation and impact findings from the evaluation of the Los Angeles Jobs-First GAIN (Greater Avenues for Independence) program, the largest county welfare-to-work program in the nation. Consistent with the philosophy and goals of the 1996 federal welfare reform legislation that created TANF, Los Angeles Jobs-First GAIN emphasizes job search assistance and imparts a strong pro-work message in attempting to move thousands of AFDC/TANF recipients quickly into jobs and, as soon as feasible, off the welfare rolls. This message and emphasis place Jobs-First GAIN in the category of Work First programs, the approach followed by most current state and local welfare-to-work programs. Most of the features of Jobs-First GAIN continue under CalWORKs, California’s program under the TANF provisions. Los Angeles inaugurated its CalWORKs program in April 1998, after the follow-up period for this report. The findings on Jobs-First GAIN have broad significance for welfare reform. Los Angeles County, with a total population of 9.6 million people, has the largest welfare population of any county in the United States (about 700,000 people, in about a quarter of a million cases) — roughly one-twelfth of the nation’s welfare caseload and larger than that of any state except New York and California. Hispanics and African-Americans make up about 80 percent of the county’s welfare population. If Los Angeles County’s Work First program succeeds in moving significant numbers of people from welfare to work, the program can serve as a model for many other large urban areas.(author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Schexnayder, Deanna T.; Schroeder, Daniel G.; Faliski, Katherine; McCoy, Jody
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    This research study by the Center for the Study of Human Resources at The University of Texas at Austin (CSHR) uses administrative data from the Texas CCMS data system for the period from October 1, 1994 through September 30, 1997 to provide a descriptive statistical analysis of the characteristics, utilization patterns, and outcomes for Texas low-income families receiving subsidized child care. This study investigated four primary research questions to learn more about families and children who have been served by the Texas CCMS system:

    1. What are the demographic characteristics of Texas families and children who have received subsidized child care services?
    2. What are the subsidized child care utilization patterns for these families?
    3. What are the labor market and Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (AFDC/TANF) outcomes for families who have received subsidized child care?
    4. How do the characteristics and outcomes for eligible families who applied for but did not receive subsidized child care differ...

    This research study by the Center for the Study of Human Resources at The University of Texas at Austin (CSHR) uses administrative data from the Texas CCMS data system for the period from October 1, 1994 through September 30, 1997 to provide a descriptive statistical analysis of the characteristics, utilization patterns, and outcomes for Texas low-income families receiving subsidized child care. This study investigated four primary research questions to learn more about families and children who have been served by the Texas CCMS system:

    1. What are the demographic characteristics of Texas families and children who have received subsidized child care services?
    2. What are the subsidized child care utilization patterns for these families?
    3. What are the labor market and Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (AFDC/TANF) outcomes for families who have received subsidized child care?
    4. How do the characteristics and outcomes for eligible families who applied for but did not receive subsidized child care differ from those for families who received subsidized care?

    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: The Council of Economic Advisers
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    This study investigates the causes behind recent changes in welfare caseloads, updating a 1997 CEA report of caseload change.

    The fall in welfare caseloads has been unprecedented, wide-spread, and continuous, and employment of welfare recipients has increased. 14.1 million people received welfare in January 1993, and this number had fallen to 7.3 million by March 1999, according to estimates released today (August 3, 1999). In 31 states the caseload is less than half of what it was when President Clinton took office, and all states have experienced double-digit percentage declines. For 22 states, the percent drop during 1998 was larger than during 1997 (from January to December). Previous analyses by the Department of Health and Human Services show that the percentage of welfare recipients working tripled between 1992 and 1997, and an estimated 1.5 million adults who were on welfare in 1997 were working in 1998.

    The 1996 legislation has been a key contributor to the recent declines. PRWORA produced a dramatic change in welfare policy: work and self...

    This study investigates the causes behind recent changes in welfare caseloads, updating a 1997 CEA report of caseload change.

    The fall in welfare caseloads has been unprecedented, wide-spread, and continuous, and employment of welfare recipients has increased. 14.1 million people received welfare in January 1993, and this number had fallen to 7.3 million by March 1999, according to estimates released today (August 3, 1999). In 31 states the caseload is less than half of what it was when President Clinton took office, and all states have experienced double-digit percentage declines. For 22 states, the percent drop during 1998 was larger than during 1997 (from January to December). Previous analyses by the Department of Health and Human Services show that the percentage of welfare recipients working tripled between 1992 and 1997, and an estimated 1.5 million adults who were on welfare in 1997 were working in 1998.

    The 1996 legislation has been a key contributor to the recent declines. PRWORA produced a dramatic change in welfare policy: work and self-sufficiency became a primary goal; state and local governments were given much greater control of their programs; and states experimented with a host of program designs. The evidence suggests that these changes caused a large drop in welfare participation, a drop that is independent of the effects of the strong labor market. The estimates imply that TANF has accounted for roughly one-third of the reduction from 1996 to 1998, the last year of data analyzed in this study. In the earlier years, 1993-1996, most of the decline was due to the strong labor market, while welfare waivers played a smaller yet important role.

    The strong labor market has made work opportunities relatively more attractive, drawing people off welfare and into jobs. The unemployment rate has not declined as much in the post-TANF period as it did in the 1993-96 waiver period. As a result, the share of the decline in the caseload that is attributable to improvements in the labor market was much higher in the 1993-96 period (roughly 26 to 36 percent) than in the 1996-98 period (8 to 10 percent).

    Past increases in the minimum wage have made work more attractive and, as a result, caused welfare participation to decline. The estimates imply that about 10 percent of the caseload decline was due to increases in state and federal minimum wages.

    The specific program design adopted by a state can affect its caseload declines. The study examines the effects of a number of specific policies, including family caps, earnings disregards, time limits, work exemptions, and work sanctions on the size of the caseload.

    The large sustained declines in caseloads provide one piece of evidence about the effectiveness of welfare reform efforts. However, there are multiple indicators of the impact of welfare reform, including changes in work and earnings among welfare leavers, in marriage rates and out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and in poverty rates. The Clinton Administration is collecting and tracking information on all of these measures in order to fully assess the impact of welfare reform. (author abstract)

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