TANF Leavers: Examining the Relationship Between the Receipt of Housing Assistance and Post-TANF Well-Being

David C. Mancuso, Charles J. Lieberman, Vanessa L. Lindler, and Anne Moses

2003

This article describes the results of a study conducted in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties, California, to learn more about the circumstances of families leaving the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and about the effects of housing assistance on post-TANF outcomes. The study used a combination of administrative data from state and county databases as well as survey data collected through interviews occurring 6, 12, and 18 months after TANF exit. Three groups of families with children were tracked: families that left TANF in the fourth quarter of 1998 and were receiving housing assistance in January 1999 (housing-assisted leavers); families that left TANF in the fourth quarter of 1998 and were not receiving housing assistance in January 1999 (non-housing-assisted leavers); and other families that were receiving housing assistance in January 1999 and were either current or former TANF recipients or had never received TANF (housing-assisted others). The results show that housing-assisted leavers were more likely than non-housing assisted leavers to belong to a minority racial/ethnic group, have more extensive welfare histories, be older, have more and older children in the household, have higher rates of welfare recidivism 18 months after leaving TANF, and have lower wages and total household incomes. Housing-assisted leavers were also much more likely than non-housing-assisted leavers to be working full time 18 months after leaving TANF. Non-housing-assisted leavers were more likely than housing-assisted leavers to live in extended-family or multifamily households and multiple-adult households. They were also more likely to be living in substandard or crowded housing 12 months after leaving TANF.

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