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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Reynolds, Kathryn; Lo, Lydia; Boshart, Abby; Galvez, Martha, M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2021

    Among the many pressing issues for the Biden administration to tackle are the challenges of instituting national housing policies that address housing stability and affordability and that ensure affordable housing is built and preserved in neighborhoods of opportunity. These challenges are not new, and some issues, particularly for renters and communities of color, have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this brief, we present the results of a scan of housing policy platforms from organizations that represent a range of ideological perspectives for federal policy proposals to improve housing stability, affordability, and choice. We identify federal reforms that meet the following criteria: (1) they have some empirical basis to suggest they could be effective at advancing these goals; (2)  they appear in more than one published housing policy platform; and (3) they were prioritized by housing experts we engaged in the Opportunity for All workshop series. In this brief, we discuss each of the proposed federal policy reforms and their evidence base, and explore...

    Among the many pressing issues for the Biden administration to tackle are the challenges of instituting national housing policies that address housing stability and affordability and that ensure affordable housing is built and preserved in neighborhoods of opportunity. These challenges are not new, and some issues, particularly for renters and communities of color, have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this brief, we present the results of a scan of housing policy platforms from organizations that represent a range of ideological perspectives for federal policy proposals to improve housing stability, affordability, and choice. We identify federal reforms that meet the following criteria: (1) they have some empirical basis to suggest they could be effective at advancing these goals; (2)  they appear in more than one published housing policy platform; and (3) they were prioritized by housing experts we engaged in the Opportunity for All workshop series. In this brief, we discuss each of the proposed federal policy reforms and their evidence base, and explore considerations for federal policymakers when implementing the reforms. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Waxman, Elaine ; Gundersen, Craig ; Fiol, Olivia
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2021

    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the primary federal food assistance program, aims to reduce hunger and food insecurity by augmenting low-income families’ purchasing power. However, the effectiveness of SNAP can be limited in a variety of ways, including by maximum benefit level, challenges with the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), and geographic variation in food prices. In an earlier version of this brief, we documented one of these limitations: the failure of the SNAP benefit to account for the wide geographic variation in food prices across the US. In this brief, we update our assessment of the adequacy of SNAP benefits by examining their efficacy in the context of food prices across the US in 2020. We compare the maximum SNAP benefit per meal with the average cost of a meal purchased by food-secure households with incomes below the federal gross income limit for SNAP. We also adjust our assessment with an increase of 15 percent in maximum benefits, the size of the temporary increase in the maximum SNAP benefit implemented from January 2021 through September 2021...

    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the primary federal food assistance program, aims to reduce hunger and food insecurity by augmenting low-income families’ purchasing power. However, the effectiveness of SNAP can be limited in a variety of ways, including by maximum benefit level, challenges with the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), and geographic variation in food prices. In an earlier version of this brief, we documented one of these limitations: the failure of the SNAP benefit to account for the wide geographic variation in food prices across the US. In this brief, we update our assessment of the adequacy of SNAP benefits by examining their efficacy in the context of food prices across the US in 2020. We compare the maximum SNAP benefit per meal with the average cost of a meal purchased by food-secure households with incomes below the federal gross income limit for SNAP. We also adjust our assessment with an increase of 15 percent in maximum benefits, the size of the temporary increase in the maximum SNAP benefit implemented from January 2021 through September 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Popkin, Susan J. ; Levy, Diane K. ; O'Brien, Mica; Boshart, Abby
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2021

    Repairing the aging, deteriorating public housing stock is a major challenge facing the Biden administration. We draw on three decades of research to highlight shortcomings in past public housing redevelopment programs such as HOPE VI and Choice Neighborhoods, including the loss of critically needed units and a lack of meaningful resident engagement in planning for redevelopment, relocation, and services. But future public housing redevelopment efforts can go beyond the mixed-income approach of past and ongoing initiatives and promote racial equity. We call for repealing the Faircloth Amendment to allow increased production of public housing units, strengthening existing place-based strategies, meaningfully engaging residents in all aspects of the redevelopment process, and raising public housing funding to a level that will preserve and expand this vital resource for affordable housing. (author abstract)

    Repairing the aging, deteriorating public housing stock is a major challenge facing the Biden administration. We draw on three decades of research to highlight shortcomings in past public housing redevelopment programs such as HOPE VI and Choice Neighborhoods, including the loss of critically needed units and a lack of meaningful resident engagement in planning for redevelopment, relocation, and services. But future public housing redevelopment efforts can go beyond the mixed-income approach of past and ongoing initiatives and promote racial equity. We call for repealing the Faircloth Amendment to allow increased production of public housing units, strengthening existing place-based strategies, meaningfully engaging residents in all aspects of the redevelopment process, and raising public housing funding to a level that will preserve and expand this vital resource for affordable housing. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Adams, Gina ; Pratt, Eleanor
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2021

    The child care subsidy system supports both parents' ability to work and children's healthy development by helping parents with low incomes pay for child care so they can work or go to school or training.  Yet many questions remain about equity in the subsidy system: To what extent does it consider inequities that Black and Latino families and immigrant families can face because of structural racism? Specifically, do subsidy policies and practices ensure that families facing barriers rooted in structural racism can access child care subsidies? Are these families able use those subsidies to access child care equal to that accessed by other families? Finally, what steps can policymakers take to ensure their subsidy systems are equitable?

    Based on a review of the scant literature on this topic and interviews with 28 experts, this report examines these questions. It first details the range of policies and practices that shape whether families can get and keep a subsidy. These include issues such as experiences families may have in dealing with child care subsidy agencies,...

    The child care subsidy system supports both parents' ability to work and children's healthy development by helping parents with low incomes pay for child care so they can work or go to school or training.  Yet many questions remain about equity in the subsidy system: To what extent does it consider inequities that Black and Latino families and immigrant families can face because of structural racism? Specifically, do subsidy policies and practices ensure that families facing barriers rooted in structural racism can access child care subsidies? Are these families able use those subsidies to access child care equal to that accessed by other families? Finally, what steps can policymakers take to ensure their subsidy systems are equitable?

    Based on a review of the scant literature on this topic and interviews with 28 experts, this report examines these questions. It first details the range of policies and practices that shape whether families can get and keep a subsidy. These include issues such as experiences families may have in dealing with child care subsidy agencies, whether they are likely to know about availability of and eligibility for subsidies, the ease or difficulty of accessing the agency,  whether they are in a priority group to get the limited funds, the ease or difficulty of applying for subsidies and proving eligibility, and how the state authorizes hours they will pay for child care. The report then examines the policies shaping whether the subsidy system helps address inequities in access to quality child care options that meet these families' needs. These include the fundamental challenge of relying on the private market, decisions about which providers are eligible to get subsidies, what providers have to do to be approved for payment, how much providers are actually paid, and the role of copayments and other fees. In each of these areas, the report includes detailed suggestions for actions states can take to make their subsidy systems more equitable. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Shapiro, Tom ; Meschede, Tatjana ; Pugh, Jim ; Morgan, Jamie ; Stewart, Sylvia
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2020

    Accelerating Equity and Justice focuses on the promise of guaranteed basic income and generational wealth accumulation to alleviate poverty, shift narratives that question the deservedness of social assistance and lessen racial wealth inequality. The report highlights the urgent need for bold, disruptive, and transformational policy with equity, well-being, and racial justice at the center.

    In this time of pandemic, universal cash transfers are touted as the emergency solution to one of the greatest disasters of our time. Economic justice always requires a commitment to security for all, not just a one-time payment in the time of emergency. (author abstract)

    Accelerating Equity and Justice focuses on the promise of guaranteed basic income and generational wealth accumulation to alleviate poverty, shift narratives that question the deservedness of social assistance and lessen racial wealth inequality. The report highlights the urgent need for bold, disruptive, and transformational policy with equity, well-being, and racial justice at the center.

    In this time of pandemic, universal cash transfers are touted as the emergency solution to one of the greatest disasters of our time. Economic justice always requires a commitment to security for all, not just a one-time payment in the time of emergency. (author abstract)

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