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New Hope Project

Health Factors: Income
Decision Makers: Local Government State Government Federal Government Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Some Evidence
Population Reach: 1-9% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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The New Hope Project was a demonstration program created by community and business leaders and operated in Milwaukee from 1994 to 1998. Designed to be replicable by public assistance and government agencies, New Hope provided a unique combination of widely implemented work supports for low income individuals and families within one program: it offered participants job search assistance, transitional jobs, earnings supplements, and subsidized child care and health insurance. Participants were required to work at least 30 hours per week to earn these benefits (MDRC-New Hope).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased employment
Increased income
Increased earnings
Increased academic achievement

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that the New Hope Project increased employment, earnings, and income among participating families, and improved academic and behavioral outcomes for participant’s children, particularly boys. Effects were strongest in the short-term (MDRC-Miller 2008, Huston 2011, McLoyd 2011). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

The New Hope Project increased participants’ employment, earnings, and income in the short-term. Economic effects faded for most participants after the program ended, but participants with only one barrier to employment continued to increase their employment rates and income for at least four years after services ended. Participants were also better insured than non-participants only for the short-term but had better health outcomes for at least a year following program participation (MDRC-Miller 2008).

Children whose parents participated in New Hope performed better academically than comparable peers in the short-term. Over the long-term, participants’ children continued to be more engaged at school (Huston 2011, MDRC-Miller 2008), less likely to be in special education, and repeat grades less often than comparable peers (MDRC-Miller 2008). These effects were particularly strong for boys (Huston 2011, MDRC-Miller 2008). Four years after the program ended, adolescents whose parents participated in the program were more likely to be engaged in employment and career preparation activities than their peers (MDRC-Miller 2008). Black adolescent males also worked for longer periods during the school year than comparable peers and were more optimistic about their long-term employment prospects (McLoyd 2011).

New Hope cost approximately $18,000 per family. Participants were limited to three years of benefits (McLoyd 2011), and rarely used all benefits at once (MDRC-Miller 2008).

Implementation Resources

Hamilton-Bos 2007 - Bos H, Duncan GJ, Gennetian LA, Hill HD. New hope: Fulfilling America’s promise to “make work pay.” The Hamilton Project. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution; 2007. Accessed on January 14, 2016

Citations - Description

MDRC-New Hope - Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC). New Hope Project. Accessed on March 1, 2016

Citations - Evidence

Huston 2011* - Huston AC, Gupta AE, Walker JT, et al. The long-term effects on children and adolescents of a policy providing work supports for low-income parents. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 2011;30(4):729-54. Accessed on February 24, 2016
McLoyd 2011* - McLoyd VC, Kaplan R, Purtell KM, Huston AC. Assessing the effects of a work-based antipoverty program for parents on youth’s future orientation and employment experiences. Child Development. 2011;82(1):113-32. Accessed on March 10, 2016
MDRC-Miller 2008 - Miller C, Huston AC, Duncan GJ, McLoyd VC, Weisner TS. New hope for the working poor: Effects after eight years for families and children. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC); 2008. Accessed on March 1, 2016

Page Last Updated

May 11, 2014

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