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.
According to MDRC’s 2005 evaluation report, Promoting Work in Public Housing: The Effectiveness of Jobs-Plus, the program substantially boosted earnings for people in high-poverty housing developments where it was properly implemented. The study offers the first hard evidence that a work-focused intervention based in a public housing environment can effectively promote residents’ self-sufficiency.
Public housing residents who leave welfare for work often see their rents rise in tandem with their higher household income, creating a potential disincentive for them to find or keep jobs. The Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families incorporates the first large-scale test of new rent rules that help make low-wage work pay. Drawing on the experiences of housing authorities in six cities, this report presents lessons on the implementation and use of these innovative work incentives as part of a comprehensive package of employment-related assistance.
From 1995 to 2001, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Ford Foundation ran a demonstration of the Quantum Opportunity Program (QOP), mainly an after-school program that also began offering intensive and comprehensive services to at-risk youth when they entered ninth grade. QOP’s goals were to increase rates of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education or training; secondary goals included improving high school grades and achievement test scores and reducing risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, crime, and teen parenting.
Fathers provide important financial and emotional support to their children. Yet low-income noncustodial fathers, with low wages and high rates of joblessness, often do not fulfill their parenting roles. The child support system has not traditionally helped these men to do so, since its focus has been on securing financial support from fathers who can afford to pay. Meanwhile, fathers who cannot pay child support accumulate debts that can lead them to evade the system and its penalties altogether - and further limit their contact with their children.
This paper examines issues and options for the design of a major non-experimental study to measure the impacts of a large-scale, saturation-level demonstration program to promote employment among residents of selected public housing developments. The program, Jobs-Plus, is being launched by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and The Rockefeller Foundation.
The Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families (Jobs-Plus, for short) grew out of The Rockefeller Foundation's interest in sponsoring community-building initiatives that feature employment as both the central goal and the driving force for transforming poor neighborhoods. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development joined The Rockefeller Foundation in its efforts, and MDRC agreed to manage Jobs-Plus and conduct a comprehensive evaluation of its implementation, costs, and effectiveness.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) began funding Individual Development Account (IDA) programs for low-income refugees in October 1999. The objectives of ORR’s IDA program are: 1) "to promote the participation of refugees in the financial institutions of this country;" and 2) "to assist refugees in purchasing assets to promote their economic self-sufficiency."
Housing is an overlooked dimension of self-sufficiency in academic scholarship and policymaking. In the absence of strong housing supports from the government, low-income families craft a variety of housing arrangements to meet their needs. One strategy is to establish shared housing with other adults and families. For low-income people, shared housing is thought to be a form of dependency that is evidence of not being self-sufficient. This study explores the shared housing experience from the perspective of those who live it.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) shifted the emphasis of the welfare system from providing ongoing cash assistance to needy individuals to moving them into jobs. This shift created new expectations and opportunities for nearly all poor families seeking government assistance, including those facing multiple and significant barriers to employment. In the past, these hard-to-employ individuals were rarely required to meet work requirements, either by working or participating in an approved work activity.