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"Finally, We're Being Recognized": Stories and Perspectives from Applicants to the Excluded Workers Fund

March 17, 2022

Although expanded unemployment insurance played a large role in decreasing the number of people living in poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic, millions—most notably undocumented workers—were excluded from these benefits. The New York State Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) is the most notable example of legislation to address this gap. Passed in April 2021, the EWF approved 130,000 excluded workers to receive financial support that roughly equaled the average total amount unemployed workers eligible for unemployment compensation received, approximately $15,600 per person. To understand the experiences of workers who applied for EWF and of those that did not receive the fund, we conducted 15 interviews with workers in English, Spanish, Bangla, and Korean and 9 interviews with staff from community-based organizations serving various populations in New York and providing crucial application assistance.We found that those who received the fund were able to use it to make ends meet during a period of severe job loss bypaying back rent and other bills;repaying debt incurred during the pandemic;stabilizing or improving their housing conditions;paying for basic needs like food;investing in their children and education;taking care of their health and paying for medical expenses;stabilizing and expanding employment opportunities; andcreating local economic stimulus.We also found that the EWF had a significant impact on excluded worker recognition and their sense of power and dignity that comes from being treated as a valued member of society. We found that workers who applied but did not receive the fund because of difficulties providing the required documentation faced continuing stress around unstable income, debt burden, and other dire circumstances.Overall, New York State Department of Labor quickly and effectively adopted the EWF, but ultimately the fund ran out of money more quickly than anticipated. Although the fund was a high-impact intervention for those who benefitted, it has not provided solutions to the ongoing instability that accompanies a lack of lawful permanent status in the US.

Pathways to Financial Resilience: 36-Month Impacts of the Grameen America Program

March 2, 2022

This report summarizes 36-month findings from the evaluation of the Grameen America program, a microfinance institution that provides loans to women with low incomes in the United States who are seeking to start or expand a small business. Its objective is to reduce poverty through the provision of small loans, financial training, and peer support.The Grameen America evaluation used a randomized controlled trial design to explore the mechanisms of program operations and whether the model leads to improved outcomes for borrowers. The evaluation includes an implementation analysis, which examines how the program operates and the experiences of borrowers and program staff, and an impact analysis, which assesses the program's effects on participants' outcomes, including the study's two primary outcomes: overall net income and types of material hardship. Other outcomes include wage-based work and self-employment, wage-based and self-employment earnings and other income, credit scores, savings, assets and remittances, social support, and financial well-being. The implementation analysis includes outcomes from program-tracking data, as well as findings from interviews with borrowers and Grameen America staff, focus groups, and researchers' observations of the program. The impact findings in this report are based on study participants' responses to a 36-month survey and credit report data from a major credit reporting agency. The Grameen America evaluation was funded by the Robin Hood Foundation.

Laal (2019-2020 Annual Report)

September 9, 2020

In the same spirit of striving for change within one's community, Laal conducted a thorough needs-based assessment in Norwood, from March to August of 2019, where we surveyed 200 Bangladeshi and South Asian womxn. These surveys asked qualitative and quantitative questions to determine what resources the community needed and what the most prominent problems facing the community were. These surveys were also imperative in establishing a rapport with the local community members and laying a foundation within a community that has historically been overlooked and underserved for over 30 years. Through programming and resources, Laal aims to create an active community of womxn who can empower themselves and one another through direct action and deliberative dialogue. Historically, immigrant Bangladeshi womxn in New York City have lacked the necessary space and resources to learn English, obtain a job, or vote because they have been treated as second-class citizens-- culturally, systematically, and institutionally. Laal is eradicating a stigma that has been culturally, traditionally, and religiously interwoven into this community's foundation; in following Septima Clark's legacy, we too, believe that Bangladeshi womxn will find liberation through literacy. 

Microfinance in the United States: Early Impacts of the Grameen America Program

March 12, 2019

The study, funded by Robin Hood, is the most rigorous, independent, third-party evaluation of group microfinance in the United States, assessing Grameen America's program, a microfinance model that provides small loans to low-income women entrepreneurs in the United States seeking to launch or expand small businesses.

Re-engaging Youth for High School Success. Evaluation of the Good Shepherd Services Transfer School Model

August 3, 2018

This study contributes to the knowledge base about strategies for helping disconnected youth re-engage with schooling. The study presents findings of a rigorous impact evaluation of the Good Shepherd Services (GSS) Transfer School Model that is grounded in developmental theory positing that social and emotional factors are essential to academic learning and achievement. The full-day, year-round model includes intensive support services and youth development practices with personalized, standards-based instruction. The outcome evaluation assessed the extent to which the GSS model as implemented was meeting its objectives, and estimated the intervention impacts on intended student outcomes based on treatment-comparison contrasts. Outcome study hypotheses: students in the GSS transfer schools will demonstrate better academic outcomes, better school-day attendance, and better behavioral outcomes than students in the comparison group. The outcome evaluation was conducted in New York City public schools and used a rigorous quasi-experimental design to compare outcomes for students enrolled at two GSS transfer schools to outcomes for equivalent comparison groups matched based on important baseline characteristics. The study participants were over-aged and under-credited urban high school students. GSS students in the study were primarily Hispanic and from low-income families, and with a history of truancy. Comparison students were drawn from students enrolled in 11 other Brooklyn transfer schools not affiliated with GSS. These schools have a similar core educational program but may vary in practices such as admissions criteria and partnership roles and responsibilities. The outcome evaluation was conducted from 2011 through 2015 and used archival school records. In addition, to gain insight into how social and emotional factors might influence outcomes, the Developmental Assets Profile (DAP), a validated survey developed by the Search Institute, was administered to incoming GSS students before the start and at the end of the 2012-13 school year. Results from the impact evaluation indicate that, compared to well-matched groups of over-age, under-credited students attending other transfer schools, the GSS transfer school model has a significant positive impact on graduation as well as the intermediate outcomes of credit attainment and school attendance. In addition, exploratory subgroup analyses indicate that female GSS students and students who entered the transfer schools with less than 11 credits have a significantly higher probability of graduating than the comparison students. Analysis of DAP data indicate that GSS students significantly increased their constructive use of time. Regression analyses further showed a significant association between constructive use of time and academic progress as measured by credit accumulation. Study results indicate the effectiveness of the GSS Transfer School Model in supporting students who are over-age and under-credited. Although the absence of a comparison group for the DAP analysis limited an assessment of the impact of the GSS model on social and emotional changes, the results confirmed the relationship between assets and academic performance, as well as participation in extracurricular activities and civic engagement. Data from the study are displayed in 22 figures and one table. The evaluation design and methods, comparison group and regression analyses, and DAP data are presented in technical appendices.

Emergency Preparedness Coordinator: User Guide

October 12, 2015

A disaster can strike anytime, anywhere. When it does, a poorly-managed response can put the safety and well-being of residents at risk and expose housing owners to unnecessary costs, problems and liabilities. Having the right plan in place before a disaster will help you manage an effective, coordinated response across staff, departments, partner agencies and sites.The Ready to Respond: Disaster Staffing Toolkit will help your organization prepare for and respond to a disaster. The Toolkit is based on the Incident Command System (ICS), a planning framework used by federal, state and local first responder agencies to help structure the command, control and coordination of emergency response. It includes guidance on staff roles and responsibilities and the disaster-related protocols and systems which will enable you to mount an effective emergency response.The Toolkit is designed to support three vital goals—building protection, resident engagement and business continuity. This will allow your organization to minimize building damage and ensure quick return to service; support the safety, preparedness and recovery of your residents, and maintain key business operations throughout a disaster.

Paying for College Success: An Introduction to the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration

October 31, 2009

This policy brief describes a demonstration launched by MDRC in four states in 2008 to evaluate whether performance-based scholarships -- paid contingent on attaining academic benchmarks -- are an effective way to improve persistence and academic success among low-income college students. The demonstration builds on positive results from an earlier MDRC study in Louisiana.

More Guidance, Better Results? Three-Year Effects of an Enhanced Student Services Program at Two Community Colleges

August 21, 2009

In a program at Lorain County Community College and Owens Community College in Ohio, low-income students received enhanced counseling and advising services and were eligible to receive a modest stipend for two semesters. The program improved academic outcomes during the second semester and continued to have a positive effect on registration rates in the semester that followed, but it did not have any meaningful effects on academic outcomes in subsequent semesters.

A Preliminary Look at Early Educational Results of the Opportunity NYC - Family Rewards Program: A Research Note for Funders

June 30, 2009

Targeted toward very low-income families in six high-poverty New York City communities, Family Rewards offers cash payments tied to efforts and achievements in children's education, family preventive health care practices, and parents' employment. This paper reviews data on participants' receipt of rewards and offers preliminary estimates of the program's impacts on selected educational outcomes during the first year.

Getting Back on Track: Effects of a Community College Program for Probationary Students

April 7, 2009

Rates of graduation and degree completion at community colleges remain distressingly low. This report evaluates two versions of a program designed to help probationary students at community college succeed in school. One version increased the average number of credits earned, the proportion of students who earned a grade point average of "C" or higher, and the proportion who moved off probation.

Rewarding Persistence: Effects of a Performance-Based Scholarship Program for Low-Income Parents

January 14, 2009

This report describes the impacts of a performance-based scholarship program with a counseling component on academic success and persistence among low-income parents. Students who participated in the program, which was operated at two New Orleans-area colleges as part of MDRC's multisite Opening Doors demonstration, were more likely to stay in school, get higher grades, and earn more credits.