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The Impact of Religion and Faith-based Organizations on the Lives of Low-Income Families

Date & time

Jun 6, 2007, 8:45 am-4:30 pm EDT


On June 7, 2007 the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan will host a conference entitled The Impact of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations on the Lives of Low Income Families

The project features nine papers by leading researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners who are interested in better understanding the role that religion and religious organizations play in assisting low-income families and affecting their behavior.  Such impacts can occur through a wide variety of mechanisms, including individual religious belief, outreach programs of religious congregations to assist poor individuals, youth programs organized by religious organizations, or the role of religious organizations in community development and neighborhood activism.

These topics are of increasing interest in the policy world, both because of increased funding for faith-based organizations that provide services to low-income families and because of the interest in religious belief as an important source of support in helping individuals deal effectively with aspects of their personal lives, such as the promotion of healthy marriage and parenting behaviors as well as in overcoming problems, such as substance abuse and reintegration into society after incarceration.

Current areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • The effectiveness and advantages/disadvantages of using faith-based organizations to provide services to low-income families
  • The role of religious belief in individual's ability to participate effectively in programs designed to promote positive behavior, such as healthy marriages and effective parenting as well as those designed to change behavior, such as substance abuse treatment,  violence reduction, prisoner re-entry programs, etc.
  • The role of faith-based organizations in urban neighborhoods
  • The comparative value of faith-based versus government-based assistance to the poor
Funds for this conference are provided to the National Poverty Center by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Service.

This event is by invitation only.

Accommodations and travel
Hotel accomodations are with the Washington Marriott Hotel at 1221 22nd Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20037.

The NPC's room block at the conference hotel is limited to speakers only. We cannot reserve rooms for general conference participants, so we encourage you to secure your own accommodations as necessary.

Conference agenda

Proposed conference papers
Religion and Relationship Quality among Low-Income Couples.Daniel Lichter, Cornell University and Julie Carmalt, Cornell University.

Living and Loving 'Decent': Religion and Relationship Quality in Urban America. W. Bradford Wilcox, University of Virginia and Nicholas Wolfinger, University of Utah.

The Role of Religious and other Non-Profit Organizations in the Lives of Disadvantaged Youth. Thomas DeLeire, Congressional Budget Office; Rajeev Dehejia, Tufts University; Erzo Luttmer, Harvard University; and Josh Mitchell, Harvard University.

The Impact of Religion on Youth in Disadvantaged Families. Dean Lillard, Cornell University and Joseph Price, Cornell University.

Survivors Perceptions of Federal, Non-Governmental, and Faith-Based Responses to Hurricane Katrina. Megan Reid, University of Texas, Austin.

Tangible and Spiritual Relief after the Storm: The Religious Communities' Response to Katrina. Daphne Cain, Louisiana State University and Juan Barthelemy, Louisiana State University.

Access and Stability: Comparing Faith-based, Secular Non-profit, and Government Service Providers in Three Cities. Scott Allard, Northwestern University. To read a final version of this paper, click here.

Faith- and Community-Based Services: How can They Complement the Public Workforce Investment System? Diane Paulsell, Jeffrey Max, Michelle Derr and Andrew Burwick, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Religion and Community empowerment: Activities of Faith-based organizations and Low-income Families in Indiana. Marci Littlefield, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis