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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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  • 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: Brennan, Maya; Sahli, Ellen; Elliott, Diana; Noble, Eleanor
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2021

    The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the precarious situation of renters in the US and the routine risk of eviction when hardship strikes. Millions of renters faced financial hardship even before the pandemic, and these hardships and eviction risks are connected to structural racism. Racial disparities in incomes, homeownership rates, and personal savings all disproportionately protect white households and leave households of color—especially Black mothers—exposed. Anticipating that renters’ risks of financial hardship and eviction will continue after eviction moratoria end, this essay envisions a federal program that assists renters in resolving discrete, indefinite, and structural hardships without loss of housing or accrual of high-cost debt. This essay is part of the Opportunity for All project. (author abstract)

    The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the precarious situation of renters in the US and the routine risk of eviction when hardship strikes. Millions of renters faced financial hardship even before the pandemic, and these hardships and eviction risks are connected to structural racism. Racial disparities in incomes, homeownership rates, and personal savings all disproportionately protect white households and leave households of color—especially Black mothers—exposed. Anticipating that renters’ risks of financial hardship and eviction will continue after eviction moratoria end, this essay envisions a federal program that assists renters in resolving discrete, indefinite, and structural hardships without loss of housing or accrual of high-cost debt. This essay is part of the Opportunity for All project. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wheaton, Laura ; Giannarelli, Linda ; Dehry, Ilham
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2021

    In an earlier brief, we estimated that the American Rescue Plan Act, enacted in March 2021, would reduce the 2021 annual poverty rate to 8.7 percent (Wheaton et al. 2021). We now project a 2021 poverty rate of 7.7 percent for 2021. The revised projection accounts for improvements in the economy, incorporates updated state-level information on pandemic-related policies, and improves the method for weighting the data to reflect 2021. Both the earlier poverty projections and these updated projections use the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which allows a more comprehensive assessment of families’ economic well-being than the official poverty measure. The projections, developed using the Urban Institute’s Analysis of Transfers, Taxes, and Income Security model, take into account expected levels of employment and income in 2021, safety-net benefits, taxes and tax credits, state “back to work” bonuses, and federal and state stimulus checks. Key findings include the following:

    • Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, the annual poverty rate projection for 2021 of 7.7 percent is...

    In an earlier brief, we estimated that the American Rescue Plan Act, enacted in March 2021, would reduce the 2021 annual poverty rate to 8.7 percent (Wheaton et al. 2021). We now project a 2021 poverty rate of 7.7 percent for 2021. The revised projection accounts for improvements in the economy, incorporates updated state-level information on pandemic-related policies, and improves the method for weighting the data to reflect 2021. Both the earlier poverty projections and these updated projections use the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which allows a more comprehensive assessment of families’ economic well-being than the official poverty measure. The projections, developed using the Urban Institute’s Analysis of Transfers, Taxes, and Income Security model, take into account expected levels of employment and income in 2021, safety-net benefits, taxes and tax credits, state “back to work” bonuses, and federal and state stimulus checks. Key findings include the following:

    • Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, the annual poverty rate projection for 2021 of 7.7 percent is well below the rate of 13.9 percent that we estimate for 2018.
    • The projected poverty rate for children is 5.6 percent, for adults ages 18 to 64 it is 8.1 percent, and for people age 65 and older it is 9.2 percent.
    • The 2021 poverty rate is projected to be higher for Black, non-Hispanic people (9.2 percent), for Hispanic people (11.8 percent), and for non-Hispanic Asian American and Pacific Islanders (10.8 percent) than for white, non-Hispanic people (5.8 percent).
    • The federal stimulus checks have a larger antipoverty impact than any of the other programs; if all other programs were in place but the stimulus checks had not been paid, we project 12.4 million more people would be in poverty in 2021. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program alone keeps 7.9 million people out of poverty in 2021, and unemployment insurance benefits lower the number in poverty by 6.7 million (assuming all other programs are in place).
    • The combined benefits have the largest impact on children, reducing their projected 2021 poverty rate 81 percent relative to what it would be without any benefits (from 30.1 percent to 5.6 percent).
    • The benefits have the largest impact on Black non-Hispanic people (reducing their 2021 projected poverty rate 74 percent) and the smallest impact on non-Hispanic Asian American and Pacific Islanders (reducing their 2021 projected poverty rate 54 percent).

    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Karpman, Michael; Zuckerman, Stephen; Gonzalez, Dulce; Kenney, Genevieve M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2020

    As it confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, the US faces what could be its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. A successful government response to the economic consequences of the pandemic is critical for sustaining families’ health and well-being and allowing families to remain housed as major sectors of the economy remain closed. The success of this response will partly depend on its effectiveness in reaching the families hardest hit by the loss of jobs and incomes. As relief is distributed, policymakers will need timely data on families’ financial and material well-being to evaluate and improve current efforts and inform new legislation. This brief uses new data from the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey, a nationally representative survey of nonelderly adults conducted between March 25 and April 10, 2020, to examine the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on families’ employment and abilities to meet basic needs, as well as racial/ethnic and family income–related disparities in the economic impact of the pandemic. As of late March/early April, we find...

    As it confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, the US faces what could be its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. A successful government response to the economic consequences of the pandemic is critical for sustaining families’ health and well-being and allowing families to remain housed as major sectors of the economy remain closed. The success of this response will partly depend on its effectiveness in reaching the families hardest hit by the loss of jobs and incomes. As relief is distributed, policymakers will need timely data on families’ financial and material well-being to evaluate and improve current efforts and inform new legislation. This brief uses new data from the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey, a nationally representative survey of nonelderly adults conducted between March 25 and April 10, 2020, to examine the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on families’ employment and abilities to meet basic needs, as well as racial/ethnic and family income–related disparities in the economic impact of the pandemic. As of late March/early April, we find the following: 

    • Just over 4 in 10 nonelderly adults (41.5 percent) reported that their families have lost jobs, work hours, or work-related income because of the coronavirus outbreak.
    • Job and income losses are widespread but more prevalent among the families of low-income and Hispanic adults.
    • In response to the crisis, 30.6 percent of adults reported that their families reduced spending on food, 43.1 percent put off major purchases, and 27.9 percent drew down savings or increased credit card debt. Among adults in families that lost work or income, 46.5 percent reduced spending on food, 58.1 percent put off major purchases, and 43.9 percent tapped savings or increased credit card debt.
    • Low-income, Hispanic, and black adults were most likely to report that their families reduced spending on food, delayed major purchases, or used savings or increased credit card debt.
    • As families cope with new financial challenges, many have experienced serious material hardships. Nearly one-third of adults (31.0 percent) reported that their families could not pay the rent, mortgage, or utility bills, were food insecure, or went without medical care because of the cost during the last 30 days. Among adults in families that lost work or income, the share experiencing these material hardships was 42.0 percent over the same time period.
    • Over two-thirds (68.6 percent) of adults with family incomes below the federal poverty level and over 45 percent of black and Hispanic adults reported that their families experienced one or more of these hardships in the last 30 days.
    • Looking ahead to the next month, adults are most likely to be worried about being able to work enough hours (38.5 percent) and pay their debts (33.1 percent), and more than one-quarter worry about paying for housing, utility, and medical costs and having enough food to eat. (Author abstract)
  • Individual Author: Ivers, Louise C.; Walton, David A.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2020

    As the world struggles with the rapidly evolving pandemic of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), evidence and experience suggest that low-income and marginalized communities in our global society will bear the biggest impact. Weknow this because, with our colleagues in Boston, Haiti, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we have worked in under-resourced, overstretched, and overwhelmed health systems for our whole careers. We know we will see the devastating impact of this pandemic on those who are already marginalized; COVID-19 will amplify existing inequities, and we must act swiftly to leave no one behind. (Author introduction)

    As the world struggles with the rapidly evolving pandemic of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), evidence and experience suggest that low-income and marginalized communities in our global society will bear the biggest impact. Weknow this because, with our colleagues in Boston, Haiti, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we have worked in under-resourced, overstretched, and overwhelmed health systems for our whole careers. We know we will see the devastating impact of this pandemic on those who are already marginalized; COVID-19 will amplify existing inequities, and we must act swiftly to leave no one behind. (Author introduction)

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