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Key Findings from Jeremiah Program Non-Residential Student-Parent Support Expansion in Boston

Young children sit on a bench
A new study by the Program Evaluation & Research Group (PERG), funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, reports on adaptations and implications of the shift to a non-residential approach in Jeremiah Program Boston, an anti-poverty organization serving low-income college-going single mothers and their children.
11/28/2018

A new study by the Program Evaluation & Research Group (PERG), funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, reports on adaptations and implications of the shift to a non-residential approach in Jeremiah Program Boston, an anti-poverty organization serving low-income college-going single mothers and their children.

Jeremiah Program, in partnership with Endicott College, began exploring expanding to Boston in 2013 in response to the growing number of college students who were single mothers. Jeremiah Program’s traditional residential campus includes family apartments, an early childhood education center, and site-based programming consisting of training, coaching, and wraparound supports. However, local real estate costs and other conditions made a non-residential version more feasible, while providing an opportunity to test a new method of service delivery. Jeremiah initially partnered with the leaders of Endicott Boston, a college campus in downtown Boston, to design a non-residential, or community-based, model where Jeremiah Program’s key services would be delivered in partnership with existing, reputable community organizations.

PERG’s study found that the non-residential Jeremiah Program Boston model, as implemented thus far, has key implications for the program and the participants that differ from Jeremiah’s traditional model:

  • The non-residential model can encompass a larger target population.

  • The new model works with families who are often living in challenging conditions, rather than providing a respite from them, as in the traditional model.

  • Transportation to Jeremiah activities can add additional effort and stress.

  • The new model requires new strategies to implement Jeremiah’s usual integrated two-generation approach.

  • Jeremiah’s goal of “safe and affordable” housing is not a high enough standard to ensure an appropriate living environment in a non-residential program.

  • Having a single, complementary educational partner (Endicott College) has provided additional stability, support, and community building opportunities.

  • Common barriers to participation are different in the two models - housing restrictions in the traditional model vs. added stress of travel and fewer incentives in the new model.

  • Some aspects of the non-residential model can start up more quickly, but it is more dependent on partnerships, which take time to build.

  • The new model is currently less expensive, but more elements still must be added.

The report also includes important lessons learned from the five-year partnership between Jeremiah and Endicott. The report is available to download at: https://www.endicott.edu/about/research-at-endicott/perg/pergs-work

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