Clear all

102 results found

reorder grid_view

Building a Better RAFT: Improving Access to Emergency Rental Assistance in Massachusetts

May 25, 2023

The Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program, better known as RAFT, is a vital lifeline for thousands of families each year who find themselves in danger of homelessness. It provides temporary housing resources to thousands of families each year, thanks to the critical partnership of community-based organizations (CBOs) and regional administrators, who make the complicated system easier for recipients. But could RAFT be more effective? The answer is unequivocally yes. In this report, four organizations with experience in the housing sector - TBF, CHAPA, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay - draw up a list of policy recommendations that could make resources easier to access and more available to families in need.In addition to increasing funding, the brief calls for efforts to simplify and streamline a fragmented system, reduce burdens on applicants for RAFT, and provide resources and other supports for CBOs to better serve applicants throughout the process.

Great Migration to Global Immigration: A Profile of Black Boston

April 7, 2023

Symbolized by the unveiling of The Embrace - the memorial to Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King and dozens of other Boston civil rights leaders - new efforts have blossomed to help realize the unfulfilled promise of racial equity in our region. Recent political organizing has generated a new class of Black elected leadership. And the public discourse has shifted, with more people newly open to considering policy steps to repair past harms and build systems that are truly inclusive and welcoming. But there remains work to be done.With this backdrop, Great Migration to Global Immigration: A Profile of Black Boston analyzes the region's unique and growing intra-Black diversity, explores how the growing Black middle-class has helped revitalize cities and towns outside of Boston's inner core, and details how disparities by income and wealth manifest across Black communities.

Boston Climate Progress Report 2022

November 3, 2022

This report, to be updated every two years, examines Boston's progress toward achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, our resilience to future climate disruptions, and the equity of our climate response. It also highlights a dozen key outcomes that must be achieved by programs, projects, and initiatives whose success is imperative to reaching the overarching goals, and lays out four "big lifts," system-transforming actions which Boston—along with the broader region and state—needs to accelerate to sharply reduce net emissions.

Multiracial in Greater Boston: The Leading Edge of Demographic Change

November 16, 2021

The United States is a nation of immigrants. And so is the region of Greater Boston. We've gone through waves of being more and less open to immigration, but the effect across recent generations has been a steadily diversifying population. Not only is racial diversity increasing in the aggregate, but a growing number of families are forming across racial and ethnic lines. Today, for instance, one in five babies born in Massachusetts is of mixed race or Latino ethnicity. The report provides detail on these shifting demographic patterns and engages with what they mean for our communities more broadly.

Pathways to Economic Mobility: Identifying the Labor Market Value of Community College in Massachusetts

June 10, 2021

This report provides a timely contribution to the growing public policy debate around how we combat structural inequality by quantifying the power of community college as a pathway to economic mobility. Until recently, it has been difficult to accurately estimate the return to a community college education in Massachusetts because numerous factors affect who enrolls, when they enroll, the rate at which they complete a credential, and the field of study that they pursue. The Commonwealth's State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) allows us to build statistical models that untangle these patterns.Utilizing this dataset, we can isolate increases in employment and earnings over and above what individuals would have experienced if they had not pursued community college studies. While community colleges serve many types of learners, with this first analysis, we focus on Massachusetts public school students who graduated from high school about a decade ago and enrolled in a community college within five years of high school graduation. These young adults represent a large segment of community college enrollment and a population for whom community college is often the highest level of educational attainment.Our analysis consistently uncovers strong labor market returns to community college studies for young adults. The gains are greater for women than men. Students who obtain degrees or credit-bearing certificates in high-demand fields garner particularly large increases in employment and earnings. While we find that low-income students and students of color are less likely to persist in community college, those who do complete degrees and credit-bearing certificates enjoy returns that are at least as large as White and non-low-income students. As detailed below, the findings in this report suggest efforts to position more students for community college success can play a meaningful role in building a more equitable Commonwealth.

The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2021 Pandemic Housing Policy: From Progress to Permanence

June 1, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic brought so many intense social, economic and public health challenges it is easy to think that the pandemic has "changed everything" with respect to housing. This year's edition of the Greater Boston Housing Report Card suggests the opposite: The region's most difficult long-term housing challenges are not only still with us, but have been compounded by recent events, and bold federal, state and local policy changes are as badly needed as ever.This report includes extensive economic and housing data from the five counties that comprise the Greater Boston region and includes analysis and policy recommendations in three general areas: economic health, housing stability, and housing supply and sustainability.

Health Starts at Home: Final Evaluation Report

June 1, 2021

Health Starts at Home was a multi-partner collaboration to improve child and family health for low-income families experiencing housing instability. The Boston Foundation funded four entities, each a partnership of at least one health-care and one housing organization, to design and implement programs to improve service delivery and reduce housing instability for participating families. The evaluators—Health Resources in Action and Urban Institute—tracked changes in these families' housing status, economic well-being, health status and health-care use for the caregivers and enrolled children at baseline, six-month, and 12-month follow-up surveys. The goal of the evaluation was to determine whether improvements in housing stability (achieved through delivery of the four Health Starts at Home program interventions) were associated with improvements in health-related outcomes. Survey data was supplemented by administrative data from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) on the use of shelters and state rental assistance programs. 

The Color of the Capital Gap: Increasing Capital Access for Entrepreneurs of Color in Massachusetts

May 20, 2021

This report lays bare the wide disparities in capital access and their root causes. The report also provides a foundation to advance bold and timely actions, policies and investments for the state, foundations, corporations, and individuals to help narrow the gap. With national attention focused on the struggle of entrepreneurs and the oppression of people of color in our society, and with large amounts of federal funding for small businesses on the way, we have a unique opportunity to implement transformative solutions that set up our entrepreneurs of color for success. 

The ROI of ESOL: The Economic and Social Return on Investment for ESOL Programs in Greater Boston

February 6, 2020

Recognizing the importance of immigrants to Greater Boston and the value of English classes and other supports to building an inclusive and welcoming community, the Boston Foundation and the Latino Legacy Fund commissioned a study that explores the "return on investment" (ROI) for teaching English to adults who are speakers of other languages. Known as ESOL programs, these services are an important component of adult education and a key piece of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The result of that study is this report, comprising an analysis of the region's ESOL landscape that provides background and context for the in-depth case studies and ROI estimates that follow.

Our Shared Future: Charting a Path for Immigrant Advancement in a New Political Landscape

April 19, 2017

Recent federal action on immigration poses a new, unique threat to our civic identity and Boston's economic future. This data-informed Understanding Boston forum features leaders who are rising to meet these new challenges and a dialogue to surface new ideas and opportunities.

How Boston and Other American Cities Support and Sustain the Arts: Funding for Cultural Nonprofits in Boston and 10 Other Metropolitan Centers

January 21, 2016

A new study commissioned by the Boston Foundation on how Boston and comparable cities support the arts shows that only New York City has higher per capita contributed revenue for the art than Boston, among major American cities.The study, titled "How Boston and Other American Cities Support and Sustain the Arts: Funding for Cultural Nonprofits in Boston and 10 Other Metropolitan Cities," also examined Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Portland Oregon, San Francisco, and Seattle. "How Boston" is a follow-up of sorts to a 2003 Boston Foundation report titled, "Funding for Cultural Organizations in Boston and Nine Other Metropolitan Areas."Key findings of this study, regarding Boston, include the fact that Boston's arts market is quite densely populated. While Greater Boston is the nation's 10th largest metro area and ranks ninth for total Gross Domestic Product, its non-profit arts market, which consists of more than 1,500 organizations, is comparable to that of New York and San Francisco, and consistently surpasses large cities such as Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia, in terms of the number of organizations and their per capita expenses.

The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2015: The Housing Cost Conundrum

November 13, 2015

Why has housing supply not kept up with housing demand? This is the question we decided to finally tackle head-on in this edition of the "Greater Boston Housing Report Card" by undertaking an in-depth study of detailed housing cost data that we have collected from housing agencies and developers. The answer to our question is an unsettling one. We have failed to meet housing production targets because there is no way to do so given the high cost of producing housing for working and middle-income households. In part, this is because of the extreme barriers to new construction, especially in the form of severely restrictive zoning at the local level across much of Massachusetts.Solving this problem of insufficient housing supply will require a battery of new approaches to zoning and construction techniques -- something that has eluded developers and policymakers alike. We suggest in these pages some new approaches to increase housing supply.