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A Review of Eviction Protections in Dallas, Texas

May 12, 2021

The Institute for Urban Policy Research partnered with the Texas Tenants Union to better understand the impact of eviction remediation programs on the plight of tenants in the City of Dallas. In Dallas, roughly three of every five households rent their home; programs aimed at preventing eviction are pertinent to most of Dallas's population (U. S. Census Bureau, 2020). Financial impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic threatened many households in Dallas and the early days of the pandemic saw multiple policy and procedure interventions, including court closures and the CARES Act. Dallas City Council was among the first localities to act, pass an eviction ordinance to protect renters from losing their homes.In this study, we pursue a mixed-methods approach, embracing both qualitative and quantitative research tools. Working with Dallas County, whose Justice of the Peace courts are the courts of original jurisdictions for evictions in Texas, we secured case filing data for January through June of 2019 and 2020. This data was used to perform a series of regression analyses comparing the volume of evictions in Dallas and surrounding cities. Next, we randomly sampled cases filed in one Dallas County Justice of the Peace court, including portions of Dallas and surrounding communities. We conducted a systematic record review of the entire case file for each of the randomly sampled cases. Finally, we engaged a purposive sample of local government and non-profit leaders, as well as affected tenants, in a focus group setting to understand their experiences with eviction in Dallas.While the quantitative results do suggest some impact of these policy responses, the findings are not encouraging. First, the milieu of policies enacted offered no universal protection to any broad segment of renting households. Second, many of those protected by these policies did not know their status, and efforts to educate them were not universally deployed. Finally, even when protected tenants were aware of their protection, their attempts to assert their rights were met by a system often confused on how to respect them.

A New Community Vision For Dallas: 2020 Economic Supplement Report

July 20, 2020

Dallas is a business model of a city, and was initially created for the economicbenefit of White settlers. These self proclaimed 'pioneers' claimed stolen American Indian land after Native people were massacred and removed from North Texas, and some brought with them enslaved Africans, who were forced to work the settler's newly acquired land for free. This history is the foundation for the racialized economic inequity that exists today in Dallas County that this supplement will interrogate. During Dallas TRHT's 2019 Community Visioning sessions, participant responses centered on the issues of economy across questions about race and racism in the community, the look and feel of Dallas without racism, and what we need to end racism in Dallas. 

A New Community VIsion for Dallas: 2019 Annual Report

May 1, 2019

The goal of this report is threefold. The first goal is to value the narratives of the often unspoken and unwritten origin stories of The City of Dallas and Dallas County. These historical narratives are as important as any data, and should be acknowledged when doing work in communities of color and creating policy. The second goal is to share the beginning of a larger and more expansive Community Racial History (as stated in the W.K. Kellogg TRHT Implementation Guidebook), which is a historical analysis of the attitudes, policies and practices of place and race. The third goal is to share the results of our Community Visioning Sessions, which were opportunities for Dallas TRHT to listen to the community, and for us to be led by the communities' shared vision of a Dallas without racism. This report is not designed to serve as a complete or exhaustive history of Dallas. 

Creating a Women's Fund: A Philanthropic Strategy for Women and Girls 2nd Edition

September 3, 2017

The process of creating a new women's fund requires thoughtful planning and strong commitment. In this edition of Creating a Women's Fund, we expanded the guide to incorporate the creation of stand-alone women's foundations. It is designed to share the experiences and perspectives of nine women's funds – small and large, new and established – from across the country.In this guide, we provide two distinct courses of action – to set up a women's fund within a community foundation or to set up a stand-alone women's foundation. The guide takes the reader through the succession of phases for each: PLANNING, ESTABLISHING and BUILDING. However, since the decision to create a women's fund within a community foundation or a stand-alone women's foundation must be thorougly researched in the PLANNING phase, we recommend all readers begin with PLANNING.At the end of the PLANNING section, readers may choose to either read the ESTABLISHING and BUILDING sections for funds within a community foundation (designated in blue for easy reference) OR for stand-alone foundations (designated in magenta). We have done this for brevity and ease; however, we strongly encourage readers to read through the entire guide to fully determine the advantages and challenges of both formats. Since there are many common steps involved in building a fund within a community foundation and a stand-alone foundation, those who read both sections may encounter some repetition.

Build a Better South: Construction Working Conditions in the Southern U.S.

May 1, 2017

This study explores labor conditions in the construction industry across six key Southern cities in the U.S. and finds that far too often construction workers across the South face working conditions that should not exist in the twentyfirst century in the richest country in the world. The study documents the alarming prevalence of jobs with wages too low to feed a family. It captures the impact of disabling work injuries on workers and their families that are made even more devastating when the employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance, or misclassifies a wage worker as an independent contractor ineligible for compensation payments. 

The Dallas Public Pension Crisis: A Warning for Cities Across Texas

October 27, 2016

In the brief, LJAF Vice President Josh McGee and LJAF Sustainable Public Finance Analyst Paulina S. Diaz Aguirre explain that unless local leaders take immediate steps to pay down the pension debt and address the plans' underlying systemic flaws, the challenges will continue to escalate."Dallas is at a tipping point," McGee said. "Without immediate reforms, the city's pension problems will become too big to fix. Workers deserve a fair and secure retirement. Local leaders must work with public servants and taxpayers to develop a sustainable solution. This is true not only in Dallas, where the problems are particularly acute, but in cities across the state. Officials must take action now to ensure that their communities remain vibrant and financially stable."The most immediate pension problem facing the city of Dallas involves its Police and Fire Pension System. The fund's Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), a savings account provided to members when they reach retirement eligibility, is nearly bankrupt. In the past six months alone, retirees have withdrawn at least $300 million in savings. If this "run on the bank" continues, the police and fire fund may run out of cash to pay retirees' benefits.The issues with the Dallas pension system stem from a decade of insufficient funding for both the police and fire fund as well as the plan for other municipal employees. With the police and fire fund, the problems have been compounded by two key factors. First, a broken governance structure allowed members to increase their own benefits without establishing a plan to pay for those increases. Second, a series of reckless investment decisions made by the plan's prior leadership went unnoticed. Former plan administrators invested more than half of the fund's assets in private equity and real estate, including high-risk properties such as luxury homes in Hawaii and a resort and vineyard in Napa, California. The city made less than expected on these investments, which led to a nearly $1 billion investment shortfall, hundreds of millions of dollars in asset devaluations, and a reported Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) review.In addition, the police and fire fund is controlled by the state legislature, which means that local leaders do not have the authority they need to make the changes that are urgently required.In the brief, McGee and Diaz Aguirre explain that plan administrators, city officials, and state legislators must immediately come together to enact comprehensive reforms. The co-authors present a number of recommendations that would help protect workers' retirement security and improve the stability of the pension system.These include:Obtaining local control of the police and fire fundStabilizing DROPDeveloping a fair and sustainable plan to pay down the pension debt

Pathways to Progress: The Portfolio and the Field of Youth Economic Opportunity

April 1, 2016

In 2014, the Citi Foundation launched Pathways to Progress, a three-year, $50 million initiative in the United States to help 100,000 low-income youth -- ages 16 to 24 -- develop the workplace skills and leadership experience necessary to compete in a 21st century economy.To achieve its ambitious goal, the Foundation enacted a multi-tiered strategy in ten cities: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The U.S. strategy also includes complementary national and local investments, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the National Academy Foundation, and the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. In addition to the core and complementary program investments, the Citi Foundation's multitiered strategy includes substantial volunteer engagement by Foundation employees, and a significant communications platform -- augmenting grantee organizations' efforts to share their impact with the field.In its efforts to advance youth economic opportunity on a significant scale, the Citi Foundation has invested in solutions that offer promise of sizeable and replicable impact.

Needs Assessment: Veterans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Region

March 29, 2016

The King Foundation and a collaborative of funders commissioned the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) to assess the needs of veterans in the region to assist in planning future philanthropic investment by the Foundation and its partners. This report summarizes research conducted by CNAS researchers between August 2015 and February 2016, using a mixed-methods approach that included qualitative research on regional trends; quantitative research using data made public by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and other agencies; a targeted survey of veterans in the region; and discussion groups with participants representing more than 50 organizations that serve those veterans.The following assessment attempts to answer the following research questions: What is the state of veterans in the DFW region? Where do needs exist among the DFW veteran population? How are the needs of veterans being met in the DFW region? What are the main efforts at meeting the needs of veterans? How does the coordination of existing services take place, and is there a collaborative structure in the region that guides investments, services, and the overall care?

Galveston Bay Report Card 2015

November 19, 2015

Galveston Bay is resilient, but faces an uncertain future. The Bay's watershed is home to the fourth- and ninth-largest cities in the U.S., Houston and Dallas. It's also home to three ports, and remains a hub for the manufacturing and refining of chemicals and petroleum products. But people, industry, and commerce often come with environmental challenges. Galveston Bay's most significant problems are tied to pollution, declines in habitat acreage, and to the impacts of climate change, like sea level rise.That Galveston Bay could receive C for overall health despite facing these monumental issues shows how resilient it is. This offers hope that we can change our negative impact on water quality, wetlands, seagrasses, and wildlife. But a healthier Galveston Bay is in everyone's interest.

Pathways to Progress: Setting the Stage for Impact

June 1, 2015

Through this three-year Pathways to Progress portfolio review, Equal Measure will Provide a comprehensive narrative about the reach the Citi Foundation investment has had on youth, individual programs, and the grantee organizations.  We also will examine how this investment fits within, and contributes to, the broader fields of youth, leadership, and 21st century workplace skills development.

Bridging the Capacity Gap: Cultural Practitioners' Perspectives on Data

April 22, 2015

In the summer of 2013, the Cultural Data Project (CDP) partnered with Slover Linett Audience Research to engage leading researchers in a virtual dialogue about cultural data and its role in supporting the long-term health, sustainability, and effectiveness of the cultural sector. The resulting white paper, New Data Directions for the Cultural Landscape: Toward a Better-Informed, Stronger Sector, identified six key challenges that appear to be inhibiting the field from more strategically and effectively engaging in data-informed decision-making practices.With that report as a starting point, the CDP sought to expand the conversation to include the perspectives of arts practitioners, artists, service organizations, and funding agencies working on the "front lines," by hosting a series of town hall-style meetings in five cities across the country. At these meetings, participants discussed the challenges identified in the New Data Directions report, articulated other challenges they're facing, and began to suggest solutions. In this report, we summarize what we heard and learned from approximately 185 cultural practitioners in town halls in Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, and Philadelphia.

More Than a Meal: Pilot Research Study

March 2, 2015

The national Meals on Wheels network continues to face limited funding, rising costs, unprecedented demand and need and increasing for-profit competition. That is why Meals on Wheels America set out to compare the experience and health outcomes realized by older adults who receive three different levels of service: daily traditional meal delivery, once-weekly frozen delivery and individuals on a waiting list. This study, funded by AARP Foundation and conducted by researchers at Brown University, implemented a groundbreaking approach to investigating the impact of meal service delivery on homebound seniors receiving Meals on Wheels. The study's findings validate what we've all known for decades anecdotally through firsthand experience: that Meals on Wheels does in fact deliver so much more than just a meal.