Little is known about the use of welfare by young men as most research and debate have concentrated on the use of welfare by families headed by single women. This research includes young men in this debate by examining the personal characteristics, events that precipitated their use, why they exited, and the barriers they faced in obtaining employment. Data are from qualitative interviews of 20 young men who resided in Madison, Wisconsin. Findings suggest that these men use General Assistance as a type of unemployment insurance between jobs. Policy, program and research recommendations are made regarding the need for assistance in improving the level of human capital and locating and retaining employment for poor men.

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