5.4 Thomas Chalmers McLaughlin


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5.4 Thomas Chalmers McLaughlin

  1. 1. Local Research in Maine<br />Thomas Chalmers McLaughlin<br />University of New England<br />
  2. 2. Political and policy climate in Maine<br />Like most States, Maine has been struggling with budget deficits and reductions in social service funding for nearly 6 years.<br />Unemployment remains around 7.7%<br />In November 2010, the governors office and both houses of the Maine legislature were controlled by Republicans. This is the first time since 1966.<br />The Governor has vowed to reduce or curtail entitlement programs.<br />
  3. 3. Evaluative data strategies<br />Develop rigorous, consistent and reputable data and findings which can be used to educate and inform public policy and community conversations.<br />Periodically share findings with community members, policy makers and the local media.<br />Proactively respond to commonly held myths about homelessness and welfare.<br />Endeavour to influence the conversation from sound bites to fact bites.<br />
  4. 4. Overview of four evaluative studies<br />Urban and rural cost effectiveness of permanent supported housing studies.<br />Homeless migration study<br />Florence House-(Housing first model) study<br />TANF study<br />
  5. 5. Rural Cost Study <br />Sample includes:<br />236 people from 11 of the 16 counties in Maine <br />Individual and family households<br />People who qualified as either chronically or non-chronically homeless (approx 15% chronic)<br />Voucher and Building-Based permanent supportive housing programs<br />
  6. 6. Cost study results<br />Average cost savings<br />$1,348 per person<br />
  7. 7. Cost study results-continued<br />
  8. 8. Portland Migration study<br />Supported by Preble Street<br />To measure the in and out migration patterns of people who happen to be homeless, three primary shelters in Portland were selected for inclusion in the study. <br />Study participants were asked to complete an 18 item questionnaire which probed issues of where they were born, number of times they had moved and other migration related questions. Questions on the survey are oriented to a larger Rahimian, 1992, Model of Homeless Migration of Men on Skid Row, Los Angeles.<br />A data set of 93 participants is included in the analysis. <br />
  9. 9. Results<br />Where do you call home?<br />Migration patterns<br />65% of the participants reported that Portland was home<br />28% reported being from Maine but not Portland<br />7% reported being from another State<br />Results are consistent with US Census data migration patterns within Portland. Census data suggests 61 percent of Portlanders do not move.<br />Portland residents remain to be close to family and/or its their hometown.<br />Of those who were not from Portland, 82 % reported coming to Portland to look for work.<br />Of those who are visitors, 70 percent of them reported they would be moving in the next 3 months.<br />
  10. 10. Florence House follow up study<br />In March of 2010 we collected baseline data from 12 women who were at the Women’s shelter and had been selected to move to Florence House in April, 2010. Baseline data collection included questions about safety at the shelter, length of time homeless, health related problems, work or volunteer activities, frequency of use of rescue, emergency room, contacts with the police, arrests and nights in jail.<br />Follow up interviews, which occur quarterly, with 8 of the twelve women have focused on health problems, frequency of use of rescue, emergency room visits, police contacts, arrests and jail nights. Additional questions focus on current employment or volunteer activities, and overall integration at Florence House.-(to include how their lives are different)<br />
  11. 11. Results<br />Preliminary results:<br />A reduction in ambulance calls for service and emergency room transports-(from 32 in a three month period at baseline to 1)<br />A reduction in emergency room visits-non transports-(from 12 in a three month period at baseline to 3)<br />
  12. 12. Quality of life results<br />Women reported increases in feeling safe or very safe in the apartments. (A change from 40 percent to 78 percent).<br />Sixty percent of the women are either working or volunteering, compared with 20 percent before entering Florence House.<br />Quotes:<br />“I love having a place of my own. It gets lonely sometimes but its been great to see how things can get better.” “I miss the sorority sister mentality of the shelter but I am actually no more about people here now then when I was at the shelter.”<br />
  13. 13. TANF study<br />The 2010 Survey was mailed to 6,382 randomly selected Maine TANF households and yielded a response rate of 17%. <br />Sampling frames from four different groups of TANF recipients were created in order to ensure a statistical representation of those families.<br />
  14. 14. Results<br />The 2010 Survey results illustrate that families seek help from TANF for three principle reasons: for some, it’s the inability to find or maintain stable and secure employment; for others family health problems limit a parent’s ability to work; and still others face family-related crises stemming from domestic violence, separation or divorce. In most instances, families receive TANF for only a short time.<br />Among the 2010 survey respondents, the median length of time on the program was 18 months. The average family size is 1.7 children and only 12 percent of TANF families that were entitled to receive child support actually received it regularly.<br />Employment data from the 2010 Survey indicates that TANF recipients are eager to work; 97% of them reported that they have work experience with an average of three jobs in the past five years.<br />Unfortunately, the data suggests that nearly 70% of them worked in low skilled sales or service sector jobs. Additionally, these low wage jobs provided little job security and typically required irregular work hours. As other research has shown, education is the key to stable employment but nearly 25% of the TANF recipients did not have a high school diploma or GED.<br />
  15. 15. Work, wages and TANF<br />Wages for TANF families lag far behind average wages in Maine. TANF recipients working at<br />the time of the 2010 survey reported a median hourly wage of $8.36. This is an increase of only<br />4.5% over the median hourly wage of $8.00 found in a survey of a similar group of Maine TANF<br />recipients in 2001.9 By comparison, Maine’s average weekly wage for all workers (both full and<br />part time) increased by 20.3% during a similar period between 2001 and 2008. This means that<br />wage increases for all Maine workers were four times greater than for TANF families during this<br />period.<br />Wages insufficient to support families. Among all respondents 35% indicated that they “can’t<br />earn enough from work to support my family” as a reason for applying for TANF. This response<br />was even larger (50%) for families that returned to TANF at least twice over the last ten years.<br />Certain sectors of the labor market are less secure than others. Approximately 10% of all<br />respondents reported that their current or most recent job was in the health care sector (often<br />working as a CNA). But, when you look at people who have returned to TANF multiple times<br />in comparison to those who did not, these individuals are 60% more likely to have worked in<br />this sector.<br />
  16. 16. How are TANF families fairing?<br />
  17. 17. Final thoughts<br />