As the demand for high-skilled workers rises and the availability of well-paying jobs for young people declines, making a successful transition to adulthood has become increasingly challenging for disadvantaged youth. MDRC develops and studies programs to help young people who face major barriers in finding a path to stable adult life.
An evaluation of the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), the state’s welfare waiver program, found that the program produced substantially larger increases in employment and earnings among welfare recipients living in public or subsidized housing than among recipients in private housing. This paper examines several possible reasons that may account for these findings, including differences in characteristics between the two groups of recipients, differences in their proximity to jobs, differences in residential stability, which might aid in the transition to work, and interactions between MFIP’s work incentives and the public/subsidized housing rent rules. The evidence, although indirect, suggests that interactions between MFIP rules and the rent rules in public housing helped to produce larger employment impacts for residents in public or subsidized housing.