Jobs-Plus, an ambitious employment program inside some of the nation’s poorest inner-city public housing developments, markedly increased the earnings of residents in the sites where it was implemented well.

"The Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families (Jobs-Plus, for short) operated as a special demonstration project in selected housing developments in six U.S. cities, Jobs-Plus was sponsored by a consortium of public and private funders led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rockefeller Foundation. This final report on the initiative assesses the program’s success in achieving key outcomes for residents and their housing developments. It analyzes the program’s effects —or “impacts” — on residents’ employment rates, average earnings, and welfare receipt by comparing the outcomes for residents of the Jobs-Plus developments with the outcomes for their counterparts in similar “comparison” developments that did not implement the program. (Because housing developments were allocated randomly to the Jobs-Plus or comparison group, their outcomes provide an especially rigorous basis for estimating program impacts.) The report also examines changes in social and material conditions at the developments" (p. ES-1).

Program costs were $150 "per targeted resident in any given month. If all else were equal, this would imply that a housing authority with, say, 250 eligible, working-age residents may need an annual budget in the vicinity of $450,000 per year to provide the on-site services and rent incentives although this may represent a high-end estimate. Note that about 35 percent ($158,000) of the estimated annual budget would be spent on rent incentives, while about 65 percent ($292,000) would be required for all other budgeted expenditures associated with the program" (p. 164). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

• "Four of the six study sites built substantial Jobs-Plus programs — although it took over two years to accomplish. • Once Jobs-Plus was in place at the four sites, it markedly increased the earnings of residents (including those who eventually moved away) relative to the comparison group. This impact was sustained over time at three of the sites but disappeared at the fourth when its residents were displaced by a federal HOPE VI renovation project. There was no program effect on earnings at the two sites that did not fully implement Jobs-Plus. The effects of Jobs-Plus on employment were positive at the sites that substantially implemented the program but were smaller and less consistent than the effects on earnings. • The large positive earnings effect of Jobs-Plus in the stronger implementation sites held for a wide range of residents defined in terms of their gender, race or ethnicity, age, past employment, past welfare receipt, past duration of residence, and future resident mobility. Most striking were the especially large impacts for immigrant men. • Welfare receipt by residents dropped precipitously after Jobs-Plus was launched, but this decline was not related to Jobs-Plus. • The positive effects on individual earnings were more likely to translate into more earnings across the housing development as a whole in sites where fewer residents moved out. However, these effects did not spark changes in overall social conditions or quality of life in the developments." (p.iii) (Abstractor: Author)