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Ending Street Homelessness in Vanguard Cities Across the Globe: An International Comparative Study

April 5, 2022

Street homelessness is one of the most extreme, and visible, manifestations of profound injustice on the planet, but often struggles to achieve priority attention at international level. The Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH's) A Place to Call Home initiative, launched in 2017, represented a concerted effort to support cities across the globe to eradicate street homelessness. A first cohort of 13 'Vanguard Cities' committed to a specific target on ending or reducing street homelessness by December 2020. Our independent evaluation of this initiative found that:Two Vanguard Cities – Glasgow and Sydney – fully met their self-defined target reductions for end 2020. In addition, Greater Manchester, while it did not meet its exceptionally ambitious goal of 'ending all rough sleeping', recorded an impressive 52% reduction against baseline.Overall, there was evidence of reductions in targeted aspects of street homelessness in over half of the Vanguard Cities. In most of the remaining cities data limitations, sometimes as a result of COVID, meant that it was not possible to determine trends. In only one Vanguard City – Edmonton – was there an evidenced increase in street homelessness over baseline levels.Key enablers of progress in reducing street homelessness included the presence of a lead coordinating agency, and coordinated entry to homelessness services, alongside investment in specialized and evidence-based interventions, such as assertive street outreach services, individual case management and Housing First.Key barriers to progress included heavy reliance on undignified and sometimes unsafe communal shelters, a preoccupation with meeting immediate physiological needs, and sometimes perceived spiritual needs, rather than structural and system change, and a lack of emphasis on prevention. Aggressive enforcement interventions by police and city authorities, and documentary and identification barriers, were also counter-productive to attempts to reduce street homelessness.A key contextual variable between the Vanguard Cities was political will, with success in driving down street homelessness associated with high-level political commitments. An absolute lack of funds was a major challenge in all of the Global South cities, but also in resource-poor settings in the Global North. Almost all Vanguard Cities cited pressures on the affordable housing stock as a key barrier to progress, but local lettings and other policies could make a real difference.The impact of the COVID-19 crisis differed markedly across the Vanguard Cities, with people at risk of street homelessness most effectively protected in the UK and Australian cities. Responses were less inclusive and ambitious in the North American and Global South cities, with more continued use of 'shared air' shelters, albeit that in some of these contexts the pandemic prompted better coordination of local efforts to address street homelessness.IGH involvement was viewed as instrumental in enhancing the local profile, momentum and level of ambition attached to reducing street homelessness in the Vanguard Cities. IGH's added value to future cohorts of cities could be maximised via a focus on more tailored forms of support specific to the needs of each city, and also to different types of stakeholders, particularly frontline workers.

Northwest Arkansas Housing Policy Landscape Assessment Phase One Report

September 9, 2021

In 2020, a team led by Smart Growth America assessed policies that affect the supply and price of housing in Northwest Arkansas and analyzed current capacity and market conditions for a wider range of housing types and price points. Two subsequent reports detail these findings and include recommended changes in policy and practice that could help the region successfully address these challenges. The reports build on Our Housing Future, a call to action published by the Walton Family Foundation in 2019, which found that "housing is becoming increasingly inaccessible to the region's workers, families and seniors." Over the course of the assessment, the research team conducted interviews, analyzed zoning codes and development processes, tested current and future growth projections and developed an understanding of the financial impacts of public and private investments as they relate to housing affordability.

Northwest Arkansas Housing Policy Landscape Assessment Phase Two Report

September 9, 2021

In 2020, a team led by Smart Growth America assessed policies that affect the supply and price of housing in Northwest Arkansas and analyzed current capacity and market conditions for a wider range of housing types and price points. Two subsequent reports detail these findings and include recommended changes in policy and practice that could help the region successfully address these challenges. The reports build on Our Housing Future, a call to action published by the Walton Family Foundation in 2019, which found that "housing is becoming increasingly inaccessible to the region's workers, families and seniors." Over the course of the assessment, the research team conducted interviews, analyzed zoning codes and development processes, tested current and future growth projections and developed an understanding of the financial impacts of public and private investments as they relate to housing affordability.

The Power and Problem of Criminal Justice Data: A Twenty-State Review

June 30, 2021

Despite accounting for a substantial portion of local, state, and federal budgets, our criminal justice institutions are among the least measured systems in our country. In an effort to bring transparency to this sector, MFJ has collected, standardized, and made public 20 states' worth of criminal justice data.The purpose of this report is to share what we have learned through this effort, including: (a) what we cannot see when data are missing, and (b) the value that data can provide when they are available and comparable. In particular, we identify patterns around the following:There is a substantial lack of data around pretrial detention and release decision-making, as well as individual demographics (particularly indigence).New data privacy laws are also making it needlessly difficult to obtain certain data. This poses challenges to understanding how individuals experience the system in cases that do not result in conviction.There is great variation in how counties dispose of and sentence nonviolent cases; how financial obligations are imposed on individuals; and the collateral consequences that individuals face when convicted.Across many of these findings, where demographics are available, we have an opportunity to identify and respond to significant disparities in group outcomes.This report challenges stakeholders and policymakers to dig deeper into these patterns and missing data. It also implores policymakers and legislators to improve criminal justice data infrastructure to ensure a more transparent, fair, and equitable implementation of justice.

Millennials, Generation Z, and Northwest Arkansas

June 23, 2021

During the Summer of 2020 and Spring of 2021, in the midst of a global pandemic and protests around racial justice, The Walton Family Foundation embarked upon a study of what young Americans thought about their own futures: their prospects for success, what they want out of life, and what they fear will stand in their way. As part of the Walton Family Foundation's work in its home region, Northwest Arkansas, they also sought to understand how Generation Z and Millennials talk about where they want to live and why - in their own words. During May 2021, they commissioned three focus group discussions with teenagers aged 13 through 18 living in Northwest Arkansas to cover these topics.This report synthesizes the findings of those original nationwide research efforts with the focus groups to better illuminate what kinds of communities Millennials and Generation Zers - particularly those in Northwest Arkansas - seek to create.

Food Over Fear: Overcoming Barriers to Connect Latinx Immigrant Families to Federal Nutrition and Food Programs

December 1, 2020

This report sheds light on why many immigrant families are forgoing vital assistance from federal nutrition and food programs and lifts up recommendations aimed at ensuring that all families and individuals, regardless of immigration status, are nourished and healthy.While the findings of this report are informed by a series of focus groups conducted from November 2019 to January 2020 (prior to the onset of COVID-19), the need to connect immigrant families to nutrition programs is arguably of even greater importance given how COVID-19 is fueling unprecedented food insecurity and ravaging communities of color and immigrant communities at disproportionately high rates due to unique barriers faced by families that include noncitizens.

Strengthening State Systems and Policies to Foster Two-Generation Strategies and Practices

September 1, 2019

This policy brief reports on the first three years of an initiative to work directly with five WPFP state partners in AR, CO, GA, KY, and NC to enhance their state's commitment and ability to serve and support adults and children collectively as well as drive local programs to do so by reviewing the efforts of the five state partners. After first providing more background on Two-Generation efforts across the U.S. in recent years, this brief discusses: 1) the WPFP concept and approach to the initiative; 2) the work of the five state partners, including the state systems identified for this work and specific items identified for improvement within those systems as well as progress to date; and 3) lessons learned and observations of this work with a clear recognition of the challenges and complexities inherent in undertaking systems change work.

When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2017 Homicide Data

September 1, 2019

The U.S. Department of Justice has found that women are far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners than men, especially when a weapon is involved. Moreover, women are much more likely to be victimized at home than in any other place.This study provides a stark reminder that domestic violence and guns make a deadly combination. According to reports submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), firearms are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes. Instead, they are all too often used to inflict harm on the very people they were intended to protect.

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation: Examining the Legal Framework in the United States, Arkansas

January 1, 2018

The Parole Release and Revocation initiative researches the components and framework of parole release and revocation decision-making across the United States. Publications resulting from the initiative focus on the legal framework of parole release and revocation at the individual state and federal level. 

Hunger in Arkansas: How Communities are Attacking Food Insecurity

November 1, 2017

Food waste. Something that's hard to imagine in a state where so many lack access to nutritious and consistent meals. With many hunger-relief programs spreading throughout the state, our communities are making significant steps towards eliminating food insecurity. But what about programs addressing the need to put an end to massive amounts of food that is wasted? According to the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. is never eaten. The average super market wastes 10 percent of its food and an average Ameri-can family spends $2,000 on food they end up throwing out. For a country with more than 46 million of its people suffering from food insecurity, how can food waste simultaneously be an issue? Working to understand how food waste happens is the first step in finding a solution. The three most common opportunities for improvement occur on farms, at consumer-facing businesses and in households.

State Facts About Unintended Pregnancy: Arkansas

September 7, 2017

Unintended pregnancy can have significant, negative consequences for  individual women, their families and society as a whole. An extensive body of research links births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies to adverse maternal and child health outcomes and myriad social and economic challenges. In 2011, the most recent year for which national-level data are available, 45% of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended, including three out of four pregnancies to women younger than 20, and there were 45 unintended pregnancies per every 1,000 women aged 15–44, a rate significantly higher than that in many other developed countries. If current trends continue, more than half of all women in the United States will experience an unintended pregnancy by the time they reach age 45. And economically disadvantaged women are disproportionately affected by unintended pregnancy and its consequences: In 2011, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with a family income lower than the federal poverty level, at 112 per 1,000, was more than five times the rate among women with an income greater than 200% of poverty (20 per 1,000).

How a Two-Generation Approach, Supported With Organizational Strength, and Community Philanthropy Can Prevent Homelessness for Families With Children

July 17, 2017

Homelessness remains a major social issue affecting communities across the United States. While the harsh realities of homelessness and its effect on the lives of adults are severe, its ramifications on families with children are extreme and unacceptable. Homeless and near-homeless families can be rescued from the severity of poverty through preventitive social programs specifically designed and implemented to address their needs. Our House, Inc., an Arkansas nonprofit organization, has adopted a successful two-generation approach model to resolve homelessness in Little Rock. This article highlights the operations of Our House as a promising, nationally replicable practice model.