Force for Good

Author: Kathryn Desai

On the Hill

“As we think about the farm bill, we need to be less focused on just work requirements and more focused on evidence-based reform that will give people a way out of poverty.”

The above is an excerpt from Michael L. Smith managing director Heather Reynolds testifying before the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Senate Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research at a hearing titled “SNAP and Other Nutrition Assistance in the Farm Bill.”

The hearing, hosted by Subcommittee Chair John Fetterman (D-Pa.) and Ranking Member Mike Braun (R-In.), focused on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), including discussion about the program’s effectiveness in lifting families out of poverty.

Presentations and publications

From the West Coast

Newly published research from LEO research professor David Phillips and our co-founder and professor of economics Jim Sullivan includes major findings for focused homelessness prevention. The study looked at an intervention from our partners at Destination: HOME, which provided emergency financial assistance (EFA) to individuals and families at imminent risk of being evicted or becoming homeless.

Key takeaways from the study include:

  • Emergency financial assistance decreases the likelihood that a recipient will need to enter a homeless shelter
  • Emergency financial assistance decreases use of homelessness services over time, thus preventing a return to homelessness rather than just delaying it
  • An estimate that for every $1 spent on program participants, $2-$3 in benefits are created

To the lone star state

LEO assistant research professor of economics, Patrick Turner, recently traveled to Texas to visit our friends at Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW). Patrick gave several presentations on results from Padua to an audience of providers, frontline staff, supporters, and foundations.

Padua is a CCFW program that provides holistic, individualized case management services to families supporting their journey out of poverty. Results showed those offered Padua were:

  • 25% more likely to report being employed full time
  • 53% more likely to rate health as having improved or stayed “Excellent”
  • Experienced sharp decline ($420) in credit card debt
  • Unemployed individuals earned 46% more
  • Unstably housed were 60% more likely to have stable housing

LEO co-founder recipient of Notre Dame Research Achievement Award

Headshot of Bill Evans

Our co-founder and professor of economics, the one and only, Bill Evans, is the recipient of the University of Notre Dame Research Achievement Award for 2023! This award honors a distinguished faculty member who has made significant contributions to scholarship in his or her discipline and to the research and graduate education goals of the University. As the award reads, Bill “has made significant contributions to the field of economics, particularly in the areas of labor, education, public finance, and health economics. He has advanced our understanding of a wide range of issues central to our everyday lives, including educational attainment, improved labor market outcomes, reduced health disparities, and the impact of policy. In addition to his prolific research, his citation count places him in the top 1% of living economists.”

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