How Effective Are Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches? Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs. Effects of Welfare-to-Work Approaches on Housing Status

12/01/2001

Program effects on employment and income may also affect the likelihood of moving or seeking better or different housing. For example, a decrease in income may encourage or force program group members to move into less expensive housing, whereas an increase in income may allow them to move into better housing or own a home.

Table 9.4 shows impacts on moving and housing. A high proportion of sample members  66 to 86 percent of the control group  moved at least once during the five-year follow-up period. There was greater variation across sites in the proportion of control group members who moved more than once during the follow-up period: Nearly 30 percent moved more than once in Atlanta whereas up to 60 percent moved more than once in Riverside. Of the seven welfare-to-work programs, impacts on ever moving were produced only in Grand Rapids, where the LFA program increased the likelihood of moving by 7.6 percentage points, or 9.8 percent, and the HCD program increased the likelihood of moving by 5.4 percentage points, or 7 percent. Although the Riverside LFA program did not increase the likelihood of moving once during the follow-up, it did increase the likelihood of moving more than once by 7.9 percentage points, or 13 percent. A significant increase in moving more than once was also found for the Riverside in-need sample (respondents without a high school diploma or GED at study entry).

 

Table 9.4
Impacts on Moving and Housing

Site and Program

Sample Size Program Group (%) Control Group (%) Difference (Impact) Percentage Change (%)
Since random assignment
Ever moved
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,070 67.0 66.2 0.8 1.2
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,145 67.7 66.2 1.5 2.3
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,097 85.6 78.0 7.6*** 9.8
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,109 83.4 78.0 5.4** 6.9
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,219 86.4 84.0 2.4 2.8
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 657 83.6 81.8 1.8 2.2
Riverside Human Capital Development 778 81.8 81.8 -0.0 -0.0
Portland 504 84.8 85.7 -0.9 -1.0
Moved more than once
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,068 30.6 29.7 0.9 3.1
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,144 31.1 29.7 1.4 4.7
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,096 62.0 53.9 8.2*** 15.2
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,108 62.1 53.9 8.3*** 15.3
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,219 67.5 59.6 7.9*** 13.3
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 657 63.4 56.2 7.1** 12.6
Riverside Human Capital Development 778 59.1 56.2 2.8 5.0
Portland 504 60.2 59.4 0.8 1.3
At five-year interview
Owns home
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,062 7.5 5.3 2.2 42.3
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,133 6.6 5.3 1.3 24.5
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,080 20.6 18.2 2.4 13.3
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,091 22.3 18.2 4.1* 22.4
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,208 10.7 10.2 0.5 4.9
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 650 8.9 9.1 -0.2 -2.5
Riverside Human Capital Development 766 12.9 9.1 3.8 41.8
Portland 495 7.7 9.4 -1.6 -17.3
Lives in public/subsidized housing
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,062 49.1 53.6 -4.5 -8.5
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,133 50.8 53.6 -2.9 -5.3
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,080 20.1 21.9 -1.8 -8.3
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,091 18.3 21.9 -3.6 -16.5
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,208 15.0 14.6 0.4 2.6
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 650 18.1 16.2 1.9 11.9
Riverside Human Capital Development 766 17.6 16.2 1.4 8.7
Portland 495 29.2 30.0 -0.8 -2.7
Rents home or room
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,062 42.7 40.6 2.1 5.1
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,133 40.9 40.6 0.3 0.7
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,080 58.2 58.1 0.1 0.1
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,091 57.1 58.1 -1.1 -1.8
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,208 72.4 73.7 -1.3 -1.7
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 650 71.4 73.2 -1.8 -2.4
Riverside Human Capital Development 766 67.0 73.2 -6.2* -8.4
Portland 495 59.8 59.4 0.4 0.7
Other housing
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,062 0.6 0.4 0.2 50.4
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,133 1.7 0.4 1.3** 302.5
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,080 1.1 1.8 -0.7 -37.9
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,091 2.3 1.8 0.6 33.7
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,208 1.9 1.5 0.4 25.1
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 650 1.6 1.5 0.1 5.9
Riverside Human Capital Development 766 2.4 1.5 0.9 62.4
Portland 495 3.3 1.3 2.0 158.2

SOURCE:  MDRC calculations from the Five-Year Client Survey.
NOTES:  See Appendix A.2. Owing to missing values, sample sizes may vary.

Why did survey respondents move? For program group members (across sites) who moved, the most important reasons were that they felt that their current housing was old or bad, that is, the neighborhood was unsafe; they wanted to leave a bad relationship; or the space was too small. The next most important reason for moving was that respondents wanted and could afford a better place to live. And these reasons were more commonly cited by program group members who moved than by control group members who moved, which suggests that program impacts on moving can be interpreted as a positive outcome for respondents' well-being.

Table 9.4 also shows that there were few program effects on home ownership or other housing situations, such as renting or living in public or subsidized housing. One impact of note, given the impacts on moving previously discussed, was that the Grand Rapids HCD program increased the likelihood of owning a home at the time of the five-year follow-up by 4.1 percentage points, or 22 percent. It is striking that rates of home ownership among control group members are nearly twice as high in Grand Rapids as in all other sites. This can be partly attributed to relatively low housing costs and relatively little access to apartments or public/subsidized housing compared with the other sites.