Jobs-Plus, a proven success story is designed to increase the level of earnings and employment among residents of public housing. The program saturates targeted developments with job and career support, rent-based and other financial incentives that “make work pay,” and community organizing activities that support a culture of work. Jobs-Plus aims to increase earning and employment outcomes not merely for residents who directly receive program services, but for whole public housing communities.

The Program Model
Jobs-Plus is serving public housing residents at targeted developments in two cities – New York City and San Antonio. The model has three key components. First, participants are connected with on-site employment-related services such as job search assistance, GED courses, vocational training, and more. Second, the housing authorities participating in Jobs-Plus offer residents rent-based work incentives, such as a temporary rent freeze when a resident begins working. These incentives help residents take full advantage of current federal rules that, in some situations, allow increased earnings to be disregarded in calculating rent levels. Finally, the program staff members recruit, train, and supervise a small cadre of residents as ‘community coaches’ who conduct community outreach and coordinate neighbor-to-neighbor work supports.  Since launching in fall of 2011, the two SIF Jobs-Plus programs have placed nearly 300 participants in jobs that are generating over $2 million in new annual wages in the targeted public housing communities.

The Evidence
The Jobs-Plus model was designed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, MDRC, and a consortium of private funders in 1998.  MDRC conducted a rigorous study of the model in public housing developments in six cities across the country that lasted seven years. The test showed that Jobs-Plus worked - it increased earnings among residents wherever the model was fully implemented by an average of 16 percent over the seven years, including for three years after the programs ended.  In response to this strong evidence, CEO began replicating Jobs-Plus in a New York City Housing Authority public housing development in Harlem starting in 2009, and has opened seven new sites in 2013 through the Young Men’s Initiative.

The Evaluation
Given that ample evidence already exists on the effectiveness of the Jobs-Plus model, the MDRC evaluation of the SIF Jobs-Plus program focuses on how best to implement the model in new communities. An implementation analysis will help policymakers better understand this program and how to make it succeed in different contexts. Tools used for this analysis will include examination of program participation rates, longitudinal qualitative interviews of participants and service providers, and collection of expenditure information. Given the serious interest in Jobs-Plus expressed by HUD and other actors in the field, the evaluation will provide a solid base on which policymakers can build templates for future Jobs-Plus programs.

  • BronxWorks (New York City, NY)
  • San Antonio Housing Authority (San Antonio, TX)

SIF Jobs-Plus Background Research: