Highlights efforts to connect Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) residents to the labor market, in particular “hard to house” residents—those with multiple complex problems, such as serious mental and physical ailments, addiction, domestic violence, and histories of lease violations.

“The Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration was a partnership of the Urban Institute, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), Heartland Human Care Services, and Housing Choice Partners, intended to test the feasibility of providing wraparound supportive services for vulnerable public housing families. The demonstration ran from March 2007 to March 2010, targeting approximately 475 households from the CHA’s Dearborn Homes and Madden/Wells developments with intensive case-management services, transitional jobs, financial literacy training, and relocation counseling (p. 9). The Urban Institute conducted a rigorous evaluation, including a baseline and follow-up survey, administrative interviews, focus groups with service providers and program administrators, in-depth resident interviews, and analysis of program and administrative data (see text box on page 9). The goal of the Demonstration was for residents to be stably housed in better circumstances and to increase their self-sufficiency. This brief explores the employment experiences of Demonstration participants, including the influence of the intensive case management, participation in the Transitional Jobs program, and the work requirement that CHA began using in 2009. Using a similar methodology as the HOPE VI Panel Study, it examines outcomes for working-age nondisabled Demonstration participants” (p.1-2). (Abstractor: Author)

Costs were $3,402 per participant for the transitional jobs portion of the demonstration.


Major Findings & Recommendations

• "The following characteristics were associated with obtaining employment: having a high school diploma or GED, having a supportive family, and participating in the Demonstration’s Transitional Jobs program" (p.3). • Demonstration participants’ self-reported employment rate increased from 49 percent in 2007 to 59 percent in 2009.... Using administrative data...the change in employment is not statistically significant, although the trend is similar. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), Demonstration participants’ employment increased from 23 to 27 percent.... In a logistic regression analysis, we examined the factors associated with individuals that gained employment between the two periods. The following characteristics were associated with obtaining employment: having a high school diploma or GED, having a supportive family, and participating in the Demonstration’s Transitional Jobs program" (p.3). • "While self-reported employment increased for the Demonstration sample, wages and incomes did not change in the aggregate from 2007 to 2009. Respondents still report an average wage of just over $10 an hour and most households are still living below the poverty level" (p.3). • "Since wages did not improve, it is not surprising that the reported levels of public assistance receipt remained unchanged as well. In 2009, 37 percent of households received SSI; 68 percent of households received food stamps, and 10 percent of households received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, roughly the same as in 2007" (p.3). (Abstractor: Author)