Understanding Service Provision for Particularly Vulnerable Populations
(Poverty and Income Policy)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Many programs of assistance – even if they are funded by federal or state government – are delivered directly at the local level. This is particularly true for programs serving particularly vulnerable population subgroups, children in low-income families, homeless individuals, and households experiencing food insecurity. The delivery of safety net programs targeting each of these vulnerable groups relies upon local capacity, funding, and political will. The inherent localness of these programs should lead us to expect that provision of assistance will vary from place to place. Indeed, there is mounting evidence that the location of nonprofit safety net providers is mismatched to concentrations of low-income people. This panel explores how hardship and provision of support services varies by place. First, Taryn Morrissey examines the spatial contours of early childhood programming. Next, Devin Rutan, Peter Hepburn, and Matthew Desmond consider the geography of eviction and how it relates to local economic, demographic, and policy characteristics. Finally, Sullivan, Allard, and Wathen consider the geography of emergency food assistance programs in metro Detroit. Each paper examines spatial variation in need among particularly vulnerable communities and how efforts to address that need can vary by place. Findings will be relevant to policy researchers broadly, as well as to policymakers and practitioners seeking to improve delivery of services and assistance to children and families experiencing hardship.