For many low-income families, taking a low-wage job was once a route to deeper poverty, since doing so usually led to loss of welfare payments, Medicaid, and other benefits. More than most poor families, public housing residents knew that work did not pay because, on top of these other losses and new expenses, increases in income would lead, under traditional public housing rules, to higher rents that would consume a substantial part of what they earned.
Policymakers have enacted a series of measures over the past decade designed to make work pay. The Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families goes even further. This ambitious place-based effort builds on those policy innovations by changing traditional public housing rent rules so that tenants' rents do not rise as quickly when their earnings grow. In addition to this financial work incentive, Jobs-Plus offers employment-related assistance, on-site case management, and job-related information sharing through resident networks.