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Creating Safe and Vibrant Communities for All New Yorkers

June 2, 2022

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) released its budget report, Creating Safe and Vibrant Communities for all New Yorkers, a community-driven rebuke of the mayor's proposed FY23 budget. Mayor Eric Adams' proposed budget has been heavily criticized and condemned by community members across the city for continuing regressive and failed policing patterns of the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations and further bloating the NYPD budget while crucial community services receive comparatively microscopic investments. According to CPR's budget report, the mayor is proposing the largest-ever NYPD budget -- $11.2 billion, with minuscule investments in community-led violence prevention and intervention solutions that actually work.

Banking for the Public Good: Public Bank NYC

May 26, 2022

This case study is part of Demos' new Economic Democracy project, which asks how poor and working-class people, especially in Black and brown communities, can exercise greater control over the economic institutions that shape their lives. This framework has 3 goals:Break up and regulate new corporate power, including Amazon, Google, and Facebook.Expand the meaning of public goods and ensure that services are equitably and publicly administered.Strengthen "co-governance" strategies so that people and public agencies can collectively make decisions about the economy.With the accelerating frequency of climate disasters, it is especially important to build the power of those most impacted by disasters— often Black, brown, and Indigenous communities—to ensure they have equitable access to the resources needed to recover and move forward.This case study spotlights how the New Economy Project (NEP) launched the Public Bank NYC (PBNYC) campaign to build a public bank in New York City that is specifically configured to serve Black and brown communities. By shifting the focus of finance from private profits to the public welfare, public banks can begin to repair harms caused by longstanding discriminatory practices that have extracted wealth from Black and brown people and neighborhoods, like predatory lending, overdraft fees, and redlining.

Climbing the Ladder: Roadblocks Faced by Immigrants in the New York City Construction Industry

May 23, 2022

As of 2021, immigrants comprised a larger share of the construction workforce than of any other sector in New York City (Office of the New York State Comptroller 2021). Between 2015 and 2019, immigrants comprised just 37 percent of the total New York City population, but 44 percent of the city's labor force and 63 percent of all its construction workers (Ruggles et al. 2021). The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) estimates that in this time period, 41 percent of the immigrant construction workforce was undocumented.Economic exploitation and safety hazards are prevalent across the entire construction industry. However, despite the essential role immigrants play in the construction industry in New York City and the United States, immigrant construction workers are especially vulnerable to exploitation and dangerous conditions. Lack of employment authorization, social safety nets, English proficiency, credentials recognition, and training opportunities, as well as discrimination place immigrants at a stark disadvantage as they try to enter, negotiate, and advance in this industry. For this report, the CMS research team interviewed 16 immigrant construction workers from 10 countries and 10 other experts in this industry, including business representatives, union organizers, and representatives of community-based organizations (CBOs). Five of these representatives were immigrants and former construction workers. With research assistance from the New York-based consulting firm Locker Associates, Inc., CMS used these interviews, together with several other data sources, to examine how construction workers in New York City find employment, their work arrangements, and barriers and conditions that endanger their health, safety, and economic well-being.

Wellness and Recovery Fund Insights Report

March 23, 2022

Brooklyn Community Foundation established the Wellness and Recovery Fund from charitable assets that remained after the New York State Office of the Attorney General dissolved Canarsie A.W.A.R.E., Inc. for its participation in a scheme that exploited some of New York's most vulnerable residents and defrauded Medicaid. The Fund supports organizations working to ensure that those who navigate the difficult road of substance abuse and addiction do so with reliable support that honors their agency and dignity.In November 2021, Brooklyn Community Foundation conducted its Insights community engagement process to learn from and partner with community leaders and residents to design the Wellness and Recovery Fund's strategy. The process involved co-creating a space for radical listening—acknowledging that people are the experts of their own experience—and fostered an environment of curiosity, openness, and empathy. 

ORGANIZING IS DIFFERENT NOW

March 23, 2022

RTCNYC and TakeRoot Justice conducted a participatory action research project to investigate the impact of Right to Counsel on tenant organizing among low-income tenants. We conducted focus groups with tenants and with housing organizers. Utilizing a participatory action research model, tenants and organizers participated in the development of research instruments, were trained to administer the research, facilitated focus groups, and engaged in opportunities for skill-building and leadership development.Our research shows:* Right to Counsel strengthens organizing in a variety of ways. It serves as a know-your-rights tool, helps build a base of involved tenants, and opens the door to new organizing tactics and strategies.* Tenants feel less stress and fear knowing they have the right to legal representation in court, which helps them navigate housing court with confidence and success and prompts them to take action against their landlords.* Right to Counsel creates opportunities for tenants, organizers, and attorneys to navigate relationships, share knowledge and history and provide trainings, all in the service of building the tenants' rights movement.* The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition is deliberate and successful in creating and sustaining a tenant-led infrastructure and movement-building spaces.These findings demonstrate the various ways in which the Right to Counsel meaningfully contributes to New York City's robust tenant movement. These findings also offer insight and inspiration for tenants and organizers fighting for the Right to Counsel in their cities.

NYC Hispanic/Latinx Health Action Agenda 2021-2025, Our Health-Our Future

March 9, 2022

The New York City Hispanic/Latinx Health Action Agenda is a result of a community driven health policy process that brought together over 60 Community-Based Organizations/Agencies and 72 community leaders, faith-based leaders, experienced clinical and non-clinical service providers. Facilitated by the Hispanic Health Network, Hispanic Federation, and the Latino Commission on AIDS, the process started in October 2020 with a series of consultations with key public health leaders, community providers, and members of health networks with expertise in the health field and Hispanic/Latinx communities. Soon after, steering and planning committees were developed to ensure a broader reach of Hispanic/Latinx community leaders and Hispanic/Latinx serving organizations throughout all NYC boroughs.In the Spring of 2021, the steering and planning groups engaged in facilitated conversations aimed to reach consensus on key subpopulations and health issues to focus on for this health policy agenda. Additionally, this newly formed network of organizations and leaders sought to fortify Hispanic/Latinx health leadership with a health policy-focused perspective to guide decision-makers and impact legislation, particularly at a moment in which NYC is preparing for a critical municipal election scheduled for November.The overarching goal of this NYC Hispanic/Latinx Health Action Agenda is to improve health outcomes among Hispanic/ Latinx New Yorkers living throughout all the boroughs while ensuring Hispanic/Latinx participation and inclusion and impacting health policy decision making in order to address health disparities and inequities in New York City. To do so, participants in this process established a conceptual framework to guide the assessment of the health needs of Hispanic/Latinx New Yorkers and develop a set of health policy recommendations.

Community Needs Assessment on Immigrant Bangladeshi Women’s Mental Health

February 23, 2022

This case summary conducted by the Urban Institute and Sapna NYC, a community-based organization serving low-income Bangladeshi women through health and empowerment programs, explores the findings of a community needs assessment focused on the mental health challenges and needs of Bangladeshi immigrant women living in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn and can help inform practice and policy in New York City. Data from our interviews indicated that the three major contributing factors to the mental health of women in our study were economic and financial insecurity, home life and social networks, and traumatic events. Based on these insights, we propose recommendations for policymakers and funders to better support the mental health of vulnerable and immigrant communities.

HueArts NYC: Brown Paper

February 16, 2022

The HueArts NYC project was initiated by Museum Hue, The Laundromat Project, and Hester Street. They collectively conceptualized and designed it in response to the needs they experienced and observed in the arts sector; and then sought joint funding. The partners recognize the vast diversity of arts entities that focus on vast artistic mediums (visual arts, theater, literary arts, dance, art, music, film, and more). The result of this project is a digital map that begins to capture the arts entities and provides resources to support further conversation with philanthropy and other funders. We will continue to gather resources to include additional POC arts entities in the future.HueArts NYC is also a call to action. This community-informed brown paper offers findings from our research and clear recommendations for more indepth studies and funding to ensure the long-term stability and sustainability of arts entities founded and led by Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and all People of Color.

HueArts NYC Map & Directory

February 16, 2022

This project was initiated by Museum Hue, The Laundromat Project, and Hester Street. They collectively conceptualized and designed it in response to the needs they experienced and observed in the arts sector; and then sought joint funding. The partners recognize the vast diversity of arts entities that focus on vast artistic mediums (visual arts, theater, literary arts, dance, art, music, film, and more). The result of this project is this digital map that begins to capture the arts entities and provides resources to support further conversation with philanthropy and other funders. We will continue to gather resources to include additional POC arts entities in the future.

La Gran Manzana: The Road Ahead For New York City’s Latino Community

October 26, 2021

This report from Hispanic Federation is a policy blueprint with recommendations on how the next Mayor and City Council can improve the lives of nearly 2.5 million Latinos who call New York City home. Recommendations include, increasing New York City's Nonprofit Stabilization Fund to $50 million over a five-year period to support people of color-led nonprofit organizations and ensure that nonprofits can engage in long-term planning to meet operational infrastructure needs and technical assistance, establishing free full-day pre-kindergarten for all three- and four year olds, electing a Latino/a as the next Speaker of the City Council, and more.

Spotlight on Direct Cash Benefits during the Pandemic

October 4, 2021

As the country looks to emerge from the pandemic during a destabilized labor market, a debate has arisen over whether direct cash payments discourage people from working. This debate echoes long-standing ideological disputes over the social safety net, including the effectiveness and appropriateness of direct cash benefits, and whether people will spend them wisely. The existing quantitative data demonstrates that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, including its direct cash benefit provisions, helped many people avert material hardship, while for those who were ineligible, its absence exacerbated hardship.Previous Poverty Tracker reports have shown that nearly half (49%) of all New York City workers lost employment income at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. And those hardest-hit were those already in precarious financial positions, with more than half (57%) of low-wage workers in New York City losing employment income. Across the city, New Yorkers were forced to figure out how to pay rent and keep food on the table with no sense of what was to come next. To make ends meet, 52% of New Yorkers who lost employment income drew down from their savings accounts, 41% started using their credit cards more frequently, and 29% delayed payments on credit cards and other loans. But the data also show that it could have been much worse absent policy interventions, such as the stimulus checks and expanded unemployment insurance benefits (UIB) that so many New Yorkers describe as a lifeline in the qualitative interviews discussed in the pages that follow.In this report, we draw on qualitative data from the Poverty Tracker to better understand how these benefits impacted peoples' lives and the choices they made. We conducted a rolling set of interviews with 38 adults in New York City from July 2020 through May 2021. With some exceptions, we interviewed people twice at roughly six-month intervals. Our research design therefore allows us to track people's experiences with successive waves of stimulus payments and UIB, their spending of these benefits, and their efforts to return to work (or not) over time. We first describe how people budgeted and apportioned these benefits. We next examine whether and how direct cash benefits affected decision-making about employment.

40,000 Police Interventions: A Five Year Look-Back on Policing in NYC Public Schools

August 1, 2021

As a result of years of persistent multi-organizational advocacy, the public has access to data on policing in New York City public schools. First passed in 2011 and then amended in 2015, the "Student Safety Act" mandates that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) post quarterly datasets. As ofAugust 2021, there are now five full school years of reporting on school policing. From the 2016-2017 school year to 2021-2021, there have been a total of 40,233 reports of school-based police interventions. During that time, Black girls represented 57% of all school-based police interventions targeting girls, but made up only 22% of the girls in the public school system.