Fifty-seven percent of working-age, nondisabled recipients of housing assistance have earned income over the past year, and most people experiencing homelessness are working or wish to do so. Yet, because of insufficient wages, job churn, dependent care obligations, and other factors, many still are unable to afford housing without assistance. Federal, state, and local efforts to promote self-sufficiency among HUD-assisted households and individuals experiencing homelessness have shown mixed results in earnings and employment outcomes for participants. This issue of Evidence Matters focuses on these efforts and related research that offer insight into promising practices and lessons for improving programs and supports aimed at fostering economic independence among HUD-assisted households.
The lead article, “Housing Assistance, Employment, and Self-Sufficiency,” discusses the barriers that can keep HUD-assisted households and individuals experiencing homelessness from achieving self-sufficiency; profiles programs administered by HUD, public housing agencies, and other stakeholders to help overcome those barriers; and surveys research findings on the effectiveness of such programs. The Research Spotlight, “Jobs Plus: Self-Sufficiency in Public Housing,” by Brian Stromberg, discusses the evolution and evaluations of HUD’s Jobs Plus program, which has successfully increased earnings of participating assisted residents. Finally, the In Practice article, “Programs Integrate Workforce and Housing Services,” discusses initiatives in Chicago and King County, Washington, that have helped participants improve basic skills and access job training and stable housing.
We hope that this edition of Evidence Matters provides a helpful overview of this critical topic. Our next issue will focus on landlords and HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program. Please provide feedback on any of our issues at www.huduser.gov/forums.