Housing assistance in Making Connections neighborhoods
Kingsley, G. Thomas
Kingsley, G. Thomas and Hayes, Christopher ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION (2008) Housing assistance in Making Connections neighborhoods. Working Paper. UNSPECIFIED.
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Making Connections is a decade-long initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s based on the belief that the best way to improve outcomes for vulnerable children living in tough neighborhoods is to strengthen their families’ connections to economic opportunity, positive social networks, and effective services and supports. Launched in 1999, the initiative operates in selected neighborhoods in ten cities across the country. This brief examines the scope and composition of housing assistance being provided through HUD programs to residents of the ten Making Connections neighborhoods. It also describes selected characteristics of the families that receive housing assistance and how their circumstances changed between surveys conducted in 2002/03 and 2005/06. At the latter date, the average share of eligible households that received assistance was 25 percent, the same as the national average, but there was considerable variation across sites: 46 percent of eligibles were assisted in Hartford and Louisville compared to only 13 percent or fewer in Des Moines, Indianapolis and Milwaukee. Among families with children, characteristics of housing assistance recipients contrasted markedly with those of other renters living in these neighborhoods. Assisted families were much more likely to be minorities and single parent households, had much lower incomes, and were considerably less likely to have a family member with stable employment or a savings account, although differences in factors like volunteering, satisfaction with services and optimism about the future of their neighborhood were less marked. Both groups had about the same, surprisingly high, likelihood of having moved between surveys (68-69 percent), and the distances moved were also similar. When designing approaches to helping both groups advance toward self-sufficiency, the major differences in their characteristics suggest alternative approaches and should certainly be taken into account.