Barriers to work among recipients of housing assistance

Mary Corcoran


This article describes how current and former welfare recipients receiving housing assistance differ from those not receiving assistance on various potential barriers to employment. The study evaluates whether housing-assisted welfare recipients have different welfare and employment outcomes compared with unassisted welfare recipients. Eight outcomes are examined: whether employed, whether on welfare, whether sanctioned, whether left a job, months on welfare, months employed, the number of hours worked, and the natural log of wages. They find more similarities than differences between women who receive housing assistance. In the authors’ multivariate analysis, they find housing assistance is not associated with the probability of receiving welfare or being sanctioned for noncompliance with the work requirement. Results show that support for the relationship between housing assistance and work outcomes is weak. Housing assistance has no effect on the probability of being employed, the natural log of weekly earnings, the percentage of months observed working, or the percentage of months observed receiving welfare. There is weak support for the role of vouchers in fostering attachment with employers and the role of public housing residence in increasing the number of hours worked on all jobs.

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