Research and Policy

culture of deterrence

In May of 2014,  we released our founding research report. Entitled Culture of Deterrence: Voices of NYC Public Assistance Recipients, the report contains the results of over 130 surveys submitted by New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) clients. 

Culture of Deterrence systematically documents HRA's failure to properly deliver vital safety net benefits and proposes a series of sensible policies designed to immediately improve the situation. The report dominated headlines in The Daily News, on WNYC, and across a host of other media outlets.


welfare in the usa: myth vs. Reality

This infamous story has been used to attack millions of struggling and poor Americans since the 1970's.

President Reagan’s comments regarding an infamous welfare recipient began the misconception that many welfare recipients were actually criminals actively scamming the system for big bucks! One woman’s crime has translated into decades of long-running misinformation that many on welfare are criminals and undeserving! Work with the Safety Net Activists to set the record straight, correct this misnomer, and educate our community with the real facts.

Below we debunk some of the common myths and lies that are spread about welfare and welfare recipients in the US.



People on welfare don’t have an education and have never worked

Many are high school or college graduates and most have worked!

People on welfare are scamming the system and wasting our tax dollars.

Most people on welfare are truly poor. People who apply have to undergo a long series of computer checks and requirements.

Welfare pays for everything.

Welfare pays very little – a single person on welfare gets $215 for rent and $183 in cash for an ENTIRE MONTH!

Welfare is easy to get and to keep

Welfare is very difficult to maintain! “We are not working the system, the system is working us.” There is Back To Work, WEP, WECARE, FEDCAP, etc.!

People on welfare are lazy.

Poor people often work the hardest! Keeping up with the maze of appointments, court, obligations, etc. is extremely difficult.

Welfare refers you to help and helps you get a job.

Many welfare programs do not refer you to help and do not provide good assistance in finding jobs.

If you have a job, you shouldn’t need welfare.

Low salaries and high rent mean that many people who work also need welfare assistance.

Being on welfare is something that is passed on from generation to generation.

Many people are the first person in their family to be on welfare due to illness or unemployment.