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Research: "Tough Love" Not Always Best Path to Self-Sufficiency

(Undated) -- Illinoisans' success using housing assistance programs to get back on their financial feet may not depend entirely on their work ethic. A new report from the National Housing Conference finds that poverty and stress can trigger a biological response in some people that creates difficulties in decision-making. Report author Maya Brennan says it’s a problem seen by Public Housing Authorities, whose clients typically are very low-income families, often on waiting lists for years and struggling to get by in troubled neighborhoods. Her research suggests these programs are most effective when they focus on the clients' personal goals, reinforce their progress, address setbacks realistically and provide intensive coaching. The Public Housing Authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency program is offered in several Illinois communities.

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