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Operation Bootstrap, Vol. I: Program Administration, 1994


Posted Date: March 31, 2005

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In October 1989, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) selected 61 public housing agencies (PHAs) around the country to participate in Operation Bootstrap, a community-based initiative designed to coordinate housing assistance with employment and training services in order to help low-income families develop careers and skills, secure jobs, and ultimately achieve economic independence. HUD contributed two special allocations of federal rental subsidies known as Section 8 certificates in Fiscal Year 1989 and Fiscal Year 1990, but local housing agencies were responsible for providing the education and job training services, as well as all other support services. Because the Operation Bootstrap Program offered no funding for these services, each housing agency had to reach out to neighboring organizations in its local community to provide all the services needed to help clients develop their skills and secure stable employment.

The Operation Bootstrap Program was the second in a series of three self-sufficiency initiatives undertaken by HUD over the last decade. The first, a mid-1980s demonstration program called Project Self-Sufficiency (PSS), was targeted specifically to low-income single parents and thought to be fairly successful in helping participants achieve economic self-sufficiency. Established five years later, the Operation Bootstrap Program borrowed the structure of its predecessor but aimed to provide opportunities to all low-income families, not just single-parent families.

HUD awarded just two rounds of funding through the Operation Bootstrap Program before the program was replaced by a third self-sufficiency initiative: the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. Authorized by the 1990 National Affordable Housing Act, the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) broadened its target client population to include public housing residents as well as Section 8 recipients. Beginning in FY 1993, participation in FSS became mandatory for all PHAs receiving either additional Section 8 assistance or new public housing units. Unlike the Operation Bootstrap Program, the FSS program is limited to individuals already receiving housing assistance, but does not require them to participate.

This second in a series of reports describes the movement of Operation Bootstrap Program participants toward self-sufficiency following program entry. It also describes who participated in the program and what education and employment-related activities they engaged in during the course of their participation. The analysis is not intended to measure the impacts of the program on participant outcomes, however, only the overall progress of those outcomes toward economic self-sufficiency.


Tables and Exhibits for Chapter 3
Tables and Exhibits for Chapter 4
Tables and Exhibits for Chapter 5


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