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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.

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.

Resisting Displacement in the Southwest Bronx: Lessons from CASA's Tenant Organizing

May 18, 2017

CASA is proud to present our new white paper, Resisting Displacement: Lessons from CASA's Tenant Organizing in the Southwest Bronx!In the last year, CASA has organized or provided technical assistance to over 90 buildings, which are home to more than 7,000 families. In the last year alone, over 4,000 tenants have actively engaged in CASA's work. Our new white paper shares lessons in tenant organizing, explores the forces of displacement that we are up against, and solutions for fighting displacement in the context of an impending rezoning.This is a critical moment for the Southwest Bronx. A potential rezoning is imminent, and could have devastating impacts on low-income tenants of color, their communities, and the state of affordable housing. CASA has drawn on our organizing experience, coalition work, previous research and the experiences of the tenants we work with to draft this white paper.In the report we:Present a clear and accurate definition of displacement and counter the false assertion that most tenants leave neighborhoods by choice;Explain the tactics that landlords already use to exert displacement pressures on low-income tenants of color;Emphasize the risk of increased displacement posed by rezoning, and in particular the Jerome Avenue rezoning, when new housing is not genuinely affordable and there are insufficient protections against displacement;Offer solutions that would protect tenants from displacement, allow them to remain in their homes, and preserve their communities.

Parents and Children Together: Design and Implementation of Two Healthy Marriage Programs

October 26, 2016

The Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research for the Office of Research, Planning, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is examining a set of Healthy Marriage (HM) and Responsible Fatherhood (RF) grantees funded by ACF's Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in 2011. Recognizing that grantees' programs continue to grow and develop, the PACT evaluation aims to provide foundational information to guide ongoing and future program design and evaluation efforts, and to build the evidence base for programming.

Stronger Together: The Power of Funder Collaboration - 40 Years of Collaborative Funds in the New York Community Trust

August 15, 2016

You've heard the proverb: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." For 40 years, The New York Community Trust has been figuring out how to effectively "go together." The Trust has been funding collaborative funds for the last 40 years. By joining forces, funders combine the resources of many to tackle larger agenda, tougher issues, or long-term challenges. The Trust's most substantial collaboration to date was the September 11th Fund, which pooled $534 million from two million individuals from all 50 states, and 150 countries. The Trust has been home to 20 other collaborative funds, distributing more than $119 million.  "Donor collaboration is on the rise because it meets many needs. By joining forces, funders leverage the resources of many to tackle larger agendas, tougher issues or long-term challenges," says Lorie Slutsky, president of The New York Community Trust. "Collaboration also provides philanthropists with an opportunity to get involved in areas in which they are not experts or take risks they might not assume on their own." To showcase the incredible work of its funder collaboratives, The Trust has launched the report "Stronger Together: The Power of Funder Collaboration." We discuss the innovative strategies of collaboration, and the lessons we've learned about working together to solve complex problems. When funders pool resources, anything is possible. 140 foundations and other collaborators made the City's public school system better for all students; led the fight against AIDS in New York City; and created affordable housing while strengthening organizations that support it.

2014: How is Affordable Housing Threatened in Your Neighborhood?

May 21, 2014

This infographic measures threats to affordable housing from various factors in NYC neighborhoods.

The Burden of Fees: How Affordable Housing is Made Unaffordable

September 1, 2013

Tenants in New York City's poorest neighborhoods are under attack. Despite the existence of laws such as rent stabilization to protect tenants from high rents, landlords are creating new ways to push rent stabilized tenants out of their homes. One such tactic is the use of non-rent fees, a confusing and often times unwarranted set of charges that are added to a monthly rent statement (see Figure 1). These include fees on appliances (air conditioner, washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher), legal fees, damage fees, Major Capital Improvement (MCI) rent increases and other miscellaneous fees. Often these fees appear on a tenant's rent bill without any explanation. If a tenant fails to pay, even if they are unaware of why the fee was imposed, they are sent letters that make them feel that they are being harassed and are threatened with eviction by the landlord. Most tenants have a right to object to many of these fees, and landlords are legally prohibited from taking tenants to Housing Court solely for non-payment of additional fees. But many tenants don't know their rights about the fees and often pay them when they shouldn't. For low-income and working class tenants who struggle each month to pay rent, these fees add up and make their housing costs unaffordable. While some of the fees are legal, many of them are not, and the consistency and pattern of the way the fees are being charged and collected suggests that some landlords are intentionally increasing tenants' rent burdens to push out long-term, rent stabilized tenants. This problem is proliferating in the Bronx, where New Settlement's Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA) works to improve living conditions and maintain affordable housing. This is particularly apparent in buildings owned by Chestnut Holdings, a company that is fast becoming one of the biggest landlords of rent stabilized buildings in the Bronx. In order to learn more about how these fees are impacting rent stabilized tenants in the Bronx and develop recommendations to reform the fee collection system, members of CASA partnered with the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center, New York Communities for Change (NYCC) and Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) to conduct research about these fees.Staff and members from the above organizations collected surveys at legal clinics, tenant association meetings and organizational events. All survey respondents live in rent stabilized buildings owned by Chestnut Holdings. In total, the coalition collected 172 surveys from 23 buildings, representing 13% of the number of apartments in those buildings. The research sample accounts for 4% of all the apartments that Chestnut Holdings owns, and 28% of the buildings. Researchers also collected rent bills and other supplemental materials (including letters to and from landlords, housing court decisions, and more) from 196 Chestnut Holdings tenants. Coalition members chose to focus on these buildings because they are rent stabilized and located in the neighborhoods where each organization is actively working. Data in this report comes from surveys, recent rent bills collected from Chestnut Holdings' tenants and interviews with tenants. Overall, we found that the problem of non-rent fees is serious and widespread in the Bronx. 81% of the tenants we surveyed had been charged some sort of fee. From the rent bills we reviewed for this report, the average tenant had $671.13 in non-rent fees on their most recent rent bill.