Project-Based Section 8 housing participants' perception of cultural and structural factors to explain barriers to economic self-sufficiency

Yolanda Javette Clark, University of Southern Mississippi


The Project-Based Section 8 program began as temporary housing of the last resort for people who experience temporary setbacks. However, due to participants' inability to become economically self-sufficient, the anti-poverty program has become permanent housing from which few families have been able to escape. Recent studies related to escaping poverty and becoming economically self-sufficient suggest cultural and structural factors are equally important and collectively impact upward economic mobility. Similarly, the purpose of this study was to determine if Project-Based Section 8 housing participants' characteristics, described as cultural and structural barriers to economic self-sufficiency, interrelate and collectively predict ability to escape poverty and experience upward economic mobility. To investigate the purpose of the study, four research objectives were explored utilizing a non-experimental research design. Even though study results revealed cultural and structural factors are equally important in becoming economically self-sufficient, it could not be determined that cultural and structural barriers are interrelated factors that collectively impact ability to experience upward economic mobility. However, because findings are based on participants' responses to questionnaire items, some of the participants' reading level may place limitations on the study. Based on findings and conclusions, a multidimensional approach to alleviating poverty and promoting economic self-sufficiency is recommended. With an economic self-sufficiency program that offers education, job skills, and coaching, Project-Based Section 8 housing program participants will be able to experience informational, skills, and embodied learning. With this holistic approach, participants may be able to escape poverty and move towards economic self-sufficiency.