• 0.13,1.00
  • 0.15,2.00
  • 0.09,1.00

New Hope provided low-income adults with cash earnings supplements, access to health insurance and child care coverage, and subsidized job placement in community-based organizations.

New Hope provided low-income adults with cash earnings supplements, access to health insurance and child care coverage, and subsidized job placement in community-based organizations.

New Hope participants who worked at least 30 hours per week could receive low-cost health insurance (if not provided through their employer) and child care subsidies (if they had a child younger than 13).

Participants whose earnings were below the federal poverty level also received a monthly earnings supplement that brought their total income up to the federal poverty level. All participants met one-on-one or in in small groups with program representatives, who provided job coaching and counseling. Participants who were unable to find full-time employment were placed in full- or part-time subsidized community service jobs with local nonprofit organizations, with a requirement for consistent attendance and job performance. Participants were encouraged to take advantage of all available New Hope services, including earnings supplements, health insurance, child care assistance, and job placements.

Each community service job lasted up to 6 months, and participants could hold community service jobs for up to a total of 12 months. Participants received New Hope services for up to 3 years.

Individuals were eligible for New Hope if they were living within one of two selected zip codes, had earnings below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, were 18 or older, and were willing and able to work full time. New Hope was implemented in Milwaukee, WI.

Year evaluation began: 1994
Populations and employment barriers:
Intervention services: Case management, Employment retention services, Financial incentives, Health services, Substance use disorder treatment and mental health services, Supportive services, Individual Placement and Support, Subsidized employment, Work experience, Work readiness activities, Job search assistance, Job development/job placement
Setting(s): Urban only

Effectiveness rating and effect by outcome domain

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Outcome domain Term Effectiveness rating Effect in 2018 dollars and percentages Effect in standard deviations Sample size
Increase earnings Short-term Supported favorable $1,883 per year 0.090 1353
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $418 per year 0.020 1357
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Supported favorable 5% (in percentage points) 0.128 1353
Long-term Supported favorable 4% (in percentage points) 0.100 1357
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $-41 per year -0.015 1353
Long-term Little evidence to assess support favorable $-105 per year -0.038 1357
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase education and training All measurement periods Little evidence to assess support unfavorable -2% (in percentage points) -0.041 1080

Participant race and ethnicity
Black or African American
51%
White
13%
Hispanic or Latino of any race
27%
Asian
6%
American Indian or Alaska Native
3%

Implementation details

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Dates covered by study

The study examined services delivered between August 1994 and December 1997. Participants were eligible to receive New Hope services for up to three years, and follow-up outcomes were measured for eight years from the time of random assignment.

Organizations implementing intervention

A community-based nonprofit, the New Hope Project, designed and operated the New Hope demonstration program. New Hope staff recruited local, service-oriented nonprofit organizations to develop job placement opportunities for study participants.

Populations served

The New Hope program served a broad population of workers with low incomes. The program’s wide eligibility guidelines allowed it to offer services to any adult in the service area who had an income below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. The majority of participants (84.9 percent) were employed full time at some point in the past, with prior jobs lasting an average of three years. Thirty-seven percent of the sample was not receiving any public assistance, such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Food Stamps, General Assistance, or Medicaid, at the time of their enrollment in the New Hope program. Men represented 28 percent of the study sample, and the average participant age was 32 years. Participation in the New Hope program was not mandated.

Description of services implemented

New Hope offered four main services, each of which could be accessed independently or in conjunction with other services:

  • Earnings supplements. Participants who worked at least 30 hours a week received monthly cash payments if their earnings were below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Although there was some confusion among participants about why supplements varied from month to month, as well as minor challenges in on-time receipt of pay stubs from participants in order to calculate and generate earnings supplements, implementation of this benefit largely went as planned.

  • Health insurance. Participants who worked at least 30 hours a week but were not eligible for employer-provided health insurance or Medicaid were offered a New Hope health insurance plan. Implementation went smoothly, aside from some confusion among participants about whether coverage would lapse if they left their jobs. If participants were actively looking for work, New Hope often extended coverage beyond the three weeks dictated by official policy.

  • Child care assistance. Parents who worked at least 30 hours a week received financial assistance to cover expenses for child care provided at licensed in-home or certified child care centers. New Hope participants paid a co-pay to providers; the remainder of program costs were paid directly to the provider by New Hope. The implementation of the child care assistance service had two main challenges. At first, New Hope issued two-party checks to participants to sign over to providers, but this policy was eliminated after it resulted in delayed payment to the child care providers. Second, when participants’ weekly work hours at times fell below 30 hours or when they did not submit pay stubs to New Hope, child care providers were not reimbursed at the maximum rate.

  • Community service jobs. Unemployed participants who were unable to find work after eight weeks of supported job searching could apply for a full- or part-time subsidized community service job in a nonprofit organization. There were no major challenges with implementing this benefit. While community service jobs only paid the minimum wage, they made participants eligible for the federal and state earned income tax credits.

In addition to the above services, New Hope offered case management. Case managers met regularly with participants one-on-one (in person or by phone) or in small groups to provide job coaching, encourage participation in the full range of New Hope services, and provide personal counseling.

Service intensity

Each community service job lasted up to 6 months, and participants could hold community service jobs for up to a total of 12 months. Participants could receive New Hope services for up to 3 years.

Comparison conditions

Study participants who were not randomly assigned to New Hope were given a list of other community resources for help with employment or other social services, which they could pursue on their own.

Partnerships

Community-based nonprofits provided job placement opportunities and supervision for New Hope participants. Nonprofit partners were responsible for creating the job openings and providing job supervision, and the Milwaukee Private Industry Council handled the payroll for participants using New Hope funds.

Staffing

New Hope project representatives served as participants’ main point of contact with the program. Each project representative had a caseload of about 75 participants. The study authors did not include information on the number of project representatives or their training, degrees, or certifications.

Local context

New Hope was implemented in Milwaukee, WI. The program targeted two high-poverty, inner-city urban neighborhoods.

Fidelity measures

The study did not discuss any tools to measure fidelity to the intervention model.

Funding source

The New Hope program received funding from a consortium of nearly 100 antipoverty organizations; state, local, and federal government agencies; and community businesses. The largest funders included the following:

  • Helen Bader Foundation

  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

  • Mott Foundation

  • Rockefeller Foundation

  • State of Wisconsin

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Cost information

The study’s cost-benefit analysis concluded that the New Hope program resulted in strong positive benefits for participants, including an overall trend toward increased income and corresponding decrease in material hardship; an increased ability to identify and rely on formal child care, as well as improved parenting outcomes; and a general reduction in stress. The monthly cost per participant varied between the four separate New Hope program offerings. Participants could use these four services independently, in combination, or all together; thus, cost per participant depended on the circumstances of the individual. The following costs are the average costs per participant, per month.

  • Cash earnings supplement for individuals earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line: $126

  • Program cost of the health insurance benefit offered to participants not eligible for employer-provided health insurance or Medicaid: $203

  • Child care subsidy paid directly to child care providers: $329

  • Community service job wages: $4.75 hourly (minimum wage)

  • Program administration and case management: $140

Studies of this intervention

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Study quality rating Study counts per rating
High High 1