This report provides an overview of the Supporting Healthy Marriage program model and includes final (30-month) impact findings on a range of outcomes including marital stability, relationship quality, co-parenting, and adult and child well-being. The report indicates that the program did not increase the likelihood that couples stayed together. The program did produce small positive effects in the relationship quality domain, but it did not improve co-parenting or measurably benefit children.
In 1995, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched the Jobs Initiative, a $30-million investment over eight years in six cities to help disadvantaged, low-skilled workers secure jobs earning family-supporting wages. As the Jobs Initiative unfolded, issues quickly arose demonstrating that race, ethnicity and cultural perspectives mattered for job seekers, employers and others – particularly workforce development organizations-involved in connecting these two groups.
The overarching goal of the Choice Neighborhoods program (Choice) is to redevelop distressed assisted housing projects and transform the neighborhoods surrounding them into mixed-income, high-opportunity places. Choice builds on lessons learned during HOPE VI, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) long-running program to replace or rehabilitate distressed public housing.
America’s cities have the potential to be the engines of full national economic recovery and growth. Realizing this potential requires investments not only in places, but also in people. The federal government makes a number of investments in the physical capital of urban communities, including public housing and transportation development. These initiatives have the potential to pay off not just in terms of improved community resources, but also in terms of job opportunities for local residents.
Recent waves of immigration have made public housing populations around the nation increasingly diverse, challenging housing authorities to find new ways to provide employment assistance to residents of different ethnic, religious, and linguistic backgrounds.
Residents of the nation's public housing developments have long suffered disproportionately from perverse disincentives to work. Under traditional public housing policies, their rents were automatically ratcheted up in lock step with any income increase they realized from earnings, even in a low-wage job. Work often promised them little financial gain.
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.
To combat joblessness and poverty in low-income communities, multiple organizations must work together with local residents. But productive collaboration on such complex issues is notoriously difficult to create and sustain, partly because partners often have different priorities and agendas. Learning from real-world experiences is critical if this strategy is to work.
The national Jobs-Plus demonstration represents an ambitious attempt to transform low-work, high-welfare public housing developments into high-work, low-welfare communities. Relying on three program components - employment-related activities and services, enhanced financial incentives to work, and community-based support for work - the program aims to create steady employment for a substantial majority of all working-age, nondisabled development residents.
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.