"I'm just walkin' in this world, and it's just me": Public Assistance Recipients' Perspectives on Low Wage Employment and Public Assistance in Cleveland, Ohio Open Access
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This research project examines the points of view of 25 African American, low-income, public assistance recipients regarding employment, public assistance, and their home city of Cleveland, Ohio. The aim of this work is to present the thoughts and feelings of the working poor participants while trying to gain better insight what influences their perspectives. The first chapter presents the introduction and methodology of this research project. It outlines the theories and historical perspectives that contributed to the development of this project. The second chapter provides a literature review on poverty and public assistance, and the perceptions and connotations surrounding the women who participate in the system; it also contains a brief history of Cleveland. The third chapter presents findings regarding the study participants' views on Cleveland, the demographic information, and the views of the relationships between Cleveland and employment or work. Chapter four details the participants' views on their parents' employment and their own employment, which is broken down into their perspectives on service work, their ability to gain employment, and the difficulties associated with both. The fifth chapter illustrates the participants' views on public assistance. This chapter's sections contain participant's perspectives retirement, public assistance, and their views on the accountability of women and of the systems in respect to receiving public assistance. Chapter six includes findings on Ohio Senate Bill 5, participants' feelings on small businesses and corporations, education, benefits and maternity leave, and criminal records. This project concludes with a summary of research findings and current legislation that could have long-term effects on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the potential effects on TANF recipients. The feelings of the participants are varied, including passionate indictments of Cleveland's role and responsibility to its citizens and the working poor to well thought out and comprehensive arguments for and against public assistance. While similar studies have consistent findings, this study with its innovative methodology provides valuable insight into the daily situations of the participants and target population for this study.