Getting through the Winter and Catching Up: Emergency Assistance and Rural Livelihoods in Tillamook County, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/wp988m40c

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  • Large-scale safety-net programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have been shown to alleviate the negative effects of low-wage jobs and unemployment on poor American households. However, less is known about the role of “emergency” safety net programs, such as rental assistance and energy assistance, in the lives of the poor. This study uses in-depth, semi-structured interviews with eleven rural individuals from Tillamook County, Oregon to 1) examine how people in rural locations learn about and come to access emergency assistance programs and 2) assess the role that such programs may or may not play in their ongoing livelihood strategies. Livelihood strategies are analyzed using the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, which moves beyond the narrow framing of poverty as income deprivation by considering the diversity of means by which households achieve well-being. Participants most often learned about emergency assistance programs through a coordinated network of social service providers in Tillamook County. Emergency assistance programs were found to play an important role in the livelihood strategies of study participants, who use the program to maintain existing capital stocks and avoid homelessness.
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