Moving Hard to House Residents to Work

Supporting Vulnerable Public Housing Families, Brief #4

By Urban Institute

December 30, 2010

Summary

This brief explores the employment experiences of public housing residents during the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA) partnership in the Family Case Management Demonstration. The Demonstration was an innovative effort to test the feasibility of providing comprehensive support services, including pre- and post-job help, for fragile public housing families. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

There might be a new way to increase income for public housing residents

Eight years after Chicago’s Transformation Plan inception, most residents were living in better housing and in substantially safer neighborhoods. However, nothing from the Panel Studies showed that these quality-of-life improvements translated into employment gains or increased earnings for CHA residents. The Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration implemented intensive support services to see if those employment outcomes could be changed. 

Findings & Stats

Job Barriers

Public housing residents face numerous barriers to employment: lack of schooling, poor mental and physical health, limited access to job networks, and physical isolation from opportunity. 

Increased Employment

Demonstration participants’ self-reported employment rate increased from 49% in 2007 to 59% in 2009.

Statements & Quotations