The Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Enrollee Outcomes One Year After Program Entry. Did Enrollees Experience Homelessness?

02/01/2004

WtW enrollees in three of the study sites exhibited high rates of homelessness. Fifteen percent of enrollees in Boston lived in emergency or long-term shelters sometime during the post-enrollment year (Exhibit V.9). A more extreme form of homelessness was common among enrollees in Milwaukee; 17 percent of them lived on the streets sometime during the year. These two forms of homelessness were both prevalent at the same high rate of 12 percent among WtW enrollees in Phoenix.(67) In sharp contrast, the rates of these two forms of homelessness did not exceed 2 percent in St. Lucie County and West Virginia. And in the remaining study sites they were 7 percent or lower.(68)

WtW enrollees in Milwaukee were far more likely than enrollees in any of the other study sites to have experienced the more extreme of the two forms of homelessness  living on the streets. Furthermore, the ratio of the rate of living on the streets to the rate of living in shelters, was far larger in Milwaukee (3.4) than in any other site, the next highest being 1.8 in Baltimore County. This high ratio suggests that WtW enrollees in Milwaukee had needs for shelter that were not being met. This is further evidence of a point made earlier in this chapter (Section A.1) that the unique characteristics of WtW enrollees in Milwaukee made it more difficult for them to access needed assistance from community organizations.

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