Poverty

Guest Post: Recap from New America NYC: Rich Hill

August 1, 2014
Publication Image Editor's Note: This post, which was originally published on the New America NYC blog, provides a summary of an Asset Building Program event featuring a screening of the film Rich Hill on July 31, 2014 at New America's New York space. It was written by Tyler S. Bugg, an Associate with New America NYC.

Asset Building News Week, July 28-August 1

August 1, 2014
Publication Image The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include family balance sheets, public assistance, and housing.

Asset Building News Week, July 21-25

July 25, 2014
Publication Image The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include financial services and knowledge, poverty, and jobs.

Asset Building News Week, July 14-18

July 18, 2014
Publication Image The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include postal banking, the safety net, inequality, and education.
 

Asset Building News Week, July 7-11

July 11, 2014
Publication Image The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include housing, homeownership, and financial education. 

Asset Building News Week, June 30-July 3

July 3, 2014
Publication Image The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include education, poverty, housing, race and wealth.

Poverty is Structural – So are Solutions

June 25, 2014
Publication Image Researchers spend a lot of time trying to identify the root causes of poverty. But the perception of the public matters too—particularly due to the impact of these perceptions on political discourse (and vice versa). A new poll released this week revealed that “fewer Americans blame poverty on the poor” in the wake of the widespread unemployment caused by the recession. Specifically, in response to the question, “What Causes Poverty?” only 44% responded “people not doing enough,” compared to 60% in 1995. By contrast, 46% of respondents identified “circumstances beyond people’s control” as the primary cause, compared to 30% two decades ago. It’s encouraging that more Americans perceive poverty as a structural problem rather than the product of individual choices. Yet preventing a retrenchment of this perspective as conditions improve will require a concerted effort—and a deliberate departure from the past.

Guest Post: Senate Housing Bill Expands Reach of Self-Sufficiency Program

June 10, 2014

Editor's note: This piece was authored by Barbara Sard, Vice President for Housing Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. It originally appeared on CBPP's blog, Off the Charts. Click here to learn more about the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. 

We’ve noted several areas where the Senate Appropriations Committee-approved bill to fund the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) improves on its House counterpart.  Here’s another:  the Senate bill would enable more families with housing assistance to participate in HUD’s effective but underutilized Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program; the House bill wouldn’t.

Under FSS, created in 1990 based on a proposal by the first Bush Administration, participants sign a contract with the public housing agency detailing their plans to acquire educational or vocational training and their interim or longer-term goals, such as getting a job or a higher salary or starting a business.  To complete the program (which generally takes five years), the head of the household must be employed and, if the family receives welfare benefits, each family member must become independent of those benefits and remain so for 12 months.

Using Concepts from the Field of Cognitive Science to Improve Self-Sufficiency Programs

June 4, 2014
Publication Image Maya Brennan with the Center for Housing Policy has published a fascinating new report entitled “Strengthening Economic Self-Sufficiency Programs: How Housing Authorities Can Use Behavioral and Cognitive Science to Improve Programs.” Brennan uses concepts from the fields of behavioral and cognitive science to evaluate strategies public housing authorities (PHAs) and other providers of housing assistance can utilize to better support their low-income participants. This work has the potential to improve the efficacy of programs designed to support increased earnings and broader upward mobility for recipients of housing assistance.
 
Research from the field of cognitive science helps explain the ways that experiences with “frequent or extended episodes of poverty, trauma, and social bias” affect the decision-making, long-term planning, and other abilities of families receiving rental assistance. Incorporating an awareness of this dynamic into program design at the PHA level therefore can help families participating in programs accomplish their goals and achieve self-sufficiency.
 
Specifically, the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is well-situated to tackle these issues because it has design elements that already reflect an understanding of what kind of support is needed to help families get on track.
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