During the 2016 federal fiscal year in Wisconsin, 22,050 people experiencing homelessness received services and shelter from providers that use the state’s tracking system. Homelessness is not just a Milwaukee or Madison concern, nor is it limited to single adults: 58% of Wisconsinites receiving homeless services lived outside Milwaukee and Dane counties, and 46% were members of a family with minor children. Approximately 9% of those receiving services were veterans. Homelessness not only causes poor outcomes for the families and individuals affected; it can be costly for taxpayers in terms of emergency shelter costs, medical expenses, criminal justice system intervention, and other public services. Children who experience homelessness are particularly vulnerable to negative outcomes and more likely to become homeless as adults. This seminar provided an overview of the state of homelessness in Wisconsin, including information about who is homeless and the funding sources currently used to address the problem. In addition, the seminar highlighted the work of researchers who have decades of experience studying evidence-based, cost-effective ways to reduce and prevent homelessness.
Seminars on Family Poverty / Welfare Reform
Many forms of childhood damage are more prevalent among the poor. Leading experts discuss three policy responses: how other states are supporting children and families while promoting self-sufficiency; the track record of the earned income tax credit in raising low-income working families out of poverty; and the effectiveness of early interventions based on one of the country’s best evaluated childhood education programs.
Hear the results of the last two decades of research on promising strategies for moving families out of poverty from some of the nation’s leading authorities. How successful have state welfare-to-work programs been in helping welfare recipients find jobs and in removing families from poverty? Will a single employment strategy work for all parts of the welfare population, including unsteady workers and those difficult to employ? What are the costs and benefits of investment strategies like early home visiting in increasing employment and in improving the long-term economic and social well-being of children and families? What tax strategies have states invested in to move the working poor out of poverty?
Reforming the welfare system inevitably arouses passion and rhetoric. While many can agree on flaws in the current system, arriving at a consensus regarding solutions traditionally has proven extraordinarily difficult. One reason is that the welfare population is quite diverse. This seminar describes why welfare is so hard to reform, with special attention to the diversity of welfare recipients. It also highlights special segments of the welfare populations.