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Changing Power Dynamics among Researchers, Local Governments, and Community Members: A Community Engagement and Racial Equity Guidebook

June 22, 2022

Increasingly, local governments seek to partner with research institutions to understand and undo their legacy of racist policymaking and other aspects of structural racism. This legacy includes historical and current policies, programs, and institutional practices that have facilitated white families' social and economic upward mobility and well-being while creating systemic barriers to the mobility and well-being of families of color.This toolkit highlights community-based approaches that can catalyze equitable public policy, programs, and investments by centering a community's expertise. Our aim is to equip local government agencies and their research partners with the tools needed to transform practices, structures, and systems by joining the highly collaborative processes of racial equity and community engagement. The toolkit is designed for local governments but also for researchers and policy experts who partner with local governments.

Leveraging Nuanced Data to Inform Research and Policy for Immigrant Students and Families

June 9, 2022

More than a quarter of US children have at least one immigrant parent, but researchers and policymakers often do not have adequate data on these children's experiences in school. Information on the languages students speak at home can provide perspective on students' experiences and takes communities' unique strengths and challenges into account. States must report data on languages spoken at home to the federal government each year, yet district-level data are rarely published.Home language data have untapped value, with far-reaching implications for instruction, student support services, and policy. Better and more public data on student background can enhance our understanding of students' experiences and provide nuanced information to educators, researchers, and policymakers to better serve distinct student subgroups. Publishing district-level home language data could inform education policy decisions, providing much-needed nuance to public education data systems.

Scoring Federal Legislation for Equity: Definition, Framework, and Potential Application

June 6, 2022

Federal legislation is fundamental to building a nation in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Since our nation's founding, in many ways, federal legislation has created and exacerbated racial inequities, leaving one-third of the population experiencing material poverty and preventing our democracy from realizing the promise of equity. To ensure the federal government serves us all, we must accurately understand and assess whether every policy advances or impedes equity. The Equity Scoring Initiative (ESI) exists to establish the foundation for a new legislative scoring regime. By scoring for equity, we can begin to create an accountable, responsive democracy.

Being an Immigrant with Disabilities: Characteristics of a population facing multiple structural challenges

April 25, 2022

Immigrants with disabilities face multiple structural challenges, including discrimination, socioeconomic disadvantage, and barriers to safety net access. However, limited research discusses the prevalence of disability among nonelderly adult immigrants and the characteristics of this population. Drawing on five-year estimates from the 2015 to 2019 American Community Survey, this brief provides a snapshot of select characteristics of nonelderly immigrants with disabilities ages 18 to 64. Overall, 5.6 percent of nonelderly immigrants have a disability. Disaggregation by race and ethnicity shows us that this prevalence is highest among nonelderly Black Latinx immigrants at 10.2 percent and lowest for non-Latinx Asian immigrants at 4.2 percent. Other key findings are as follows:Roughly 1 in 3 (35.3 percent) immigrants with disabilities has limited English proficiency.About 3 in 10 (30.7 percent) immigrants with disabilities are from Mexico.Nearly half (49.3 percent) of nonelderly immigrants with disabilities report having low family incomes (under 200 percent of the family federal poverty level).About four in 10 (41.4 percent) immigrants with disabilities are employed. Three in 10 (30.0 percent) immigrants with disabilities are working in service occupations, such as janitors and building cleaners, housekeeping cleaners, and personal care aides.One in 8 (12.7 percent) immigrants with disabilities reported receiving Supplemental Security Income in the 12 months before the survey.Three in 10 (30.3 percent) noncitizens report being uninsured at the time of the survey, while 1 in 10 (9.5 percent) naturalized citizens report being uninsured.The results presented in this brief can inform efforts to improve the well-being of immigrants with disabilities through strategies such as increased access to government public services, improvements in job access and quality, and development of community models to promote disability inclusion.

Nine Strategies to Guide Efforts to Reduce Youth Gun Violence

April 22, 2022

Gun violence, including that perpetrated by young people, is a pernicious problem for many communities, particularly those facing historically high levels of concentrated disadvantage and disinvestment. To effectively address youth gun violence and establish and maintain peace, communities need stable safety infrastructures and effective interventions.We developed a research-based practice guide to help local governments, law enforcement agencies, and antiviolence organizations determine how to shape their approaches to reducing gun violence perpetrated by young people ages 10 to 25 in gangs or groups. Here, we summarize the guide's recommendations on how to develop effective interventions and build a broader safety infrastructure that supports the success of different partners working to protect young people and communities from gun violence.

Racial, Ethnic, and Language Concordance between Patients and Their Usual Health Care Providers

March 23, 2022

Patients of color are less likely than White patients to report being the same race as their healthcare providers. The disparity could have negative implications for patient-provider relationships and patient health outcomes.

"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.

Reclaiming Vacant Houses & Preventing Foreclosure: Lessons from LISC’s New York State Vacants Initiative

March 13, 2022

The housing instability caused by COVID has continued into 2022, even as foreclosure moratoria end at federal and state levels around the country. This report, Reclaiming Vacant Houses & Preventing Foreclosure: Lessons from LISC's New York State Vacants Initiative, a collaboration of LISC and the Urban Institute, provides lessons and evidence of outcomes of a path-breaking law and LISC initiative in reducing vacant houses and preventing foreclosures in jurisdictions across New York State.

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.

How Post-Pandemic Tax Cuts Can Affect Equity: An Examination of How State Tax Changes Affected Different Income Groups and Representative Households in Arizona, Maryland, New Mexico, and Ohio

February 9, 2022

State policymakers across the country are considering tax cuts in 2022. While there are many reasons and ways to cut taxes, state policymakers should keep in mind that the pandemic's negative effects were unequal and that future state revenue growth is uncertain. This report, using the Tax Policy Center state tax model, analyzes 2021 tax cuts passed in Arizona, Maryland, New Mexico, and Ohio, showing how each state's tax cut affected different income groups and representative households from different racial and ethnic groups. In general, states that expanded refundable tax credits provided larger benefits to representative Black and Latino households.

A Research-Based Practice Guide to Reduce Youth Gun and Gang/Group Violence

January 3, 2022

While extensive research exists, the field lacks a current and translational synthesis of what works to reduce youth group and gun violence. In response, the Urban Institute developed a research-based practice guide to inform local government, law enforcement, and community-violence-intervention stakeholders as they implement new antiviolence interventions and refine existing ones. To inform the development of the guide, Urban researchers conducted a comprehensive literature synthesis of research on violence reduction interventions and conducted a scan of interventions representing well-known antiviolence models and other innovative strategies. Drawing on the findings from the literature synthesis and scan of practice, the practice guide presents recommendations around nine practice areas related to building an infrastructure to support a multi-faceted antiviolence strategy and implementing effective violence reduction programs.

A New Era of Racial Equity in Community Development Finance: Leveraging Private and Philanthropic Commitments in the Post–George Floyd Period

December 20, 2021

The brief first reflects on gaps in economic opportunity for capital access and wealth accrual in disadvantaged communities and by race, explaining why it is essential to align community development finance and corporate and philanthropic commitments to community need if the country is to successfully unlock more equitable opportunity for all. Part 1 then examines racial equity commitments made between June 2020 and May 2021; the types of organizations and priorities targeted by these financial commitments; adherence to disbursement timelines; and changes in financial products, services, and grantmaking approaches. Part 2 looks at the uses of community development capital, the role of community development finance in supporting disinvested communities, challenges reported in capital deployment, and 11 potential solutions for addressing these challenges equitably. In part 3, "The Path Forward," we discuss how the federal government can more effectively mobilize the private sector and share four strategies for the corporate and philanthropic sectors, in turn. These steps include strategies to maximize current resources and sustain momentum—such as greater transparency and collaboration and embedding equity in investment decisions—and those that can support longer-term, systemic change that extends more flexible and patient financing, responding to the needs with an even bolder commitment, and embracing equity as a business imperative.