Second interim report of the Work Rewards demonstration project follows up initial two year findings with longer term results on the effectiveness of three different types of work incentives.


“Policymakers have long sought to improve voucher holders’ labor market outcomes. Toward that end, HUD funds the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, providing public housing authorities with modest resources to hire case managers, who work with participants to develop plans for becoming self-sufficient and to connect them with services in their communities.” (p.ES-1).

”…the Work Rewards demonstration encompasses tests of three distinct strategies: (1) FSS alone, (2) FSS plus special work incentives, and (3) the special work incentives alone. The first two of these tests (’FSS-only’ and ’FSS+incentives’) are both part of the ’FSS study’ in this report, and they involve households with vouchers obtained through HPD. The third test (without FSS), referred to as the ’incentives-only’  study in this report, involves households with vouchers obtained through NYCHA. Using two parallel, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), the evaluation is determining the effects, or ’impacts,’ of the FSS program and the new special work incentives on voucher holders’ employment outcomes, housing subsidy receipt, receipt of other public assistance benefits, and various quality-of-life outcomes.” (p.ES-2).

“All three projects — Family Rewards, Spark, and Work Rewards — rely on a random assignment design to assess their effectiveness, which is considered the strongest design for determining program effects. In such studies, participants are randomly assigned to a program group, which is exposed to an intervention, or to a control group, which is not, and the differences in outcomes between the two groups indicate the program effects, or ’impacts.’ Similarly, two (or more) different program groups can be exposed to different interventions and their respective outcomes compared. MDRC is conducting the evaluation of Work Rewards, while Seedco, along with a small group of community-based organizations (CBOs), operated the Work Rewards demonstration” (p.2).

(Abstractor: Author)