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Failing but not Fooling, Public Housing Residents: The Impact of Job Interventions


The focus of this paper is on public housing and the impact of job interventions in Los Angeles. Rather than preserving affordable housing, national housing policy is aimed at reducing numbers of units, dispersing public housing residents, and, effectively replacing the permanency of the existing program with the temporary benefits of Section 8 vouchers. HUD's policy banks on residents being able to find decent jobs to afford higher rents in the private market. The new welfare program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), limits time a person can be on welfare and severely limits opportunities for training and education. TANF assumes that enough jobs will exist to support needy families and individuals.

As part of this study, in early 1993, we interviewed 30 enrollees in the Job Training Partnership Program (JTPA) in Los Angeles and directors of Community Service Centers (CSCs) at five public housing sites in Los Angeles. We conducted over 30 interviews with staff in various job training programs across the country. In addition, we reviewed private and public initiatives. Virtually all the interviews and written material confirm the multiple inadequacies of most existing job interventions. The report concludes by suggesting guidelines for public housing residents, housing organizers, and policy makers in housing when considering various job interventions.

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