Between 1998 and 2003, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administered the Jobs Plus demonstration in six cities with areas of concentrated poverty and unemployment. The demonstration aimed to increase employment and earnings among public housing residents through a combination of on-site employment-related services and rent incentives. The original demonstration had strong, positive results, with earnings for participating residents increasing by 16 percent per year in three sites where all components of the program were fully implemented. In 2014, a new and expanded Jobs Plus pilot program was launched.
This report examines the impact of that replication program, assessing participation and labor market outcomes in the first 24 public housing agencies that received funding for the program, which was then implemented across 31 separate housing developments representing a wide range of size, site demographics, location, and local contexts. The report finds that there were no measurable additional increases in employment or earnings for residents in the Jobs Plus replication sites compared with residents in other sites that did not receive program funding, despite generally positive economic conditions during the study period and increased average employment and earnings across all the study sites. That said, this study occurred at the outset of the program when implementation strategies and documents were still in development.
Given the strength of long-term findings from the three sites in the original Jobs Plus demonstration that were fully implemented and sustained, the authors hypothesize that participation levels in the replication study sites, compared with levels in the original study’s sites, were not high enough to generate positive effects on employment and earnings outcomes.