Our Homes, Our Future: How Rent Control Can Build Stable, Healthy Communities

Overview

Amid the worst renter crisis in a generation, it is time for policymakers to respond to the call for rent control to protect renters from skyrocketing rents and displacement. Rent control has tremendous payoff: if the rent control policies being debated right now in six states and two cities become reality, 12.7 million renter households will be stabilized. If adopted by states nationwide, 42 million households could be stabilized.

Read the full report on how rent control can build stable, healthy communities.

This report was produced by a collaboration between PolicyLink, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the Right To The City Alliance.

Sarah Treuhaft highlights key findings from the report, and speakers from Oregon and New York will discuss their local campaigns and the growing movement led by renters to push for stronger tenant protection laws. View webinar recording.

Health Care and the Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity

Overview

People of color in the United States experience poorer health and more premature, preventable mortality than their White counterparts. Although health care companies prioritize achieving health equity, their efforts often focus on disparities caused by poverty, education, and disability without explicitly addressing how structural racism significantly raises the risk of poor health for people of color. Corporate diversity and inclusion efforts, while helpful, are not sufficient to counter biases in clinical practice or access to health care. By better serving communities of color, health care companies can deliver better outcomes and strengthen their own economic performance.

A follow-up to The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity, developed in partnership with FSG, this report focuses on actions taken by companies in the health care sector to create business value by addressing the unique challenges faced by communities of color. The companies featured in this report—ProMedica, Kaiser Permanente, Cigna, and UnitedHealth Group—have adopted several business strategies that improve health outcomes for people of color and create a competitive advantage through reduced costs, avoided readmissions, and greater member satisfaction.

Top Takeaways

  1. For health care organizations to achieve health equity, it is essential to have an explicit focus on racial equity.
  2. Leading health care providers and commercial insurance companies are redesigning the ways in which they provide core services to better meet the needs of people of color and they are making investments to improve community conditions that affect health.
  3. These companies also have strong internal catalysts that enable them to implement strategies—including a diverse employee base that feels included, strong leadership that understands why race matters, and an organizational structure that connects equity to business goals.

Find all related material for The Corporate Racial Equity Advantage

Financial Services and the Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity

Overview

Historically, financial institutions in the United States have not served people of color effectively or fairly. Even today, people of color have less access to credit, pay higher interest rates for loans, and are less likely to receive venture capital funding as compared to their White counterparts. Serving these markets effectively is not only a moral imperative, but also an economic opportunity to enhance a company’s bottom line.

A follow-up to The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity, developed in partnership with FSG, this report highlights specific action steps leading companies in the financial sector have taken to create business value by using credit, savings, and investment products to address the unique challenges faced by communities of color. The companies featured in this report—Citi, Oportun, OneUnited Bank, Prudential Financial, and Impact America Fund—have found competitive advantage through their strategies to serve consumers who have historically been excluded.

Top Takeaways

  1. With a deeper understanding of the impacts of structural racism, financial services companies can avoid one-size-fits-all approaches to product and service development and better serve historically excluded populations of color and thus reach expanded markets.
  2. Leading financial services companies are reconceiving products and services to better meet the needs of people of color and are strengthening their external business environment by supporting public policies and norms that expand financial security.
  3. These companies also have strong internal catalysts—including a diverse employee base and a culture of inclusion—that enable them to implement strategies that advance racial equity and business growth.

Find all related material for The Corporate Racial Equity Advantage

Solving the Housing Crisis Is Key to Inclusive Prosperity in the Bay Area

Overview

This report presents new data illustrating how the combination of rising rents and stagnant incomes is straining household budgets and stifling opportunity for all but the very wealthy in the nine-county Bay Area, raising serious questions about the sustainability of the region’s economy. The report was developed as part of the Bay Area Equity Atlas partnership between PolicyLink, the San Francisco Foundation, and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California (PERE). Key findings include:

  • Between 2000 and 2016, rents increased 24 percent while renter incomes rose just 9 percent.
  • There are 480,000 economically insecure renter households in the region that are paying $9,000 too much for housing per year, on average.
  • A family of two full-time workers each making $15/hour can only afford market rent in 5 percent of Bay Area neighborhoods.
  • 92 percent of these neighborhoods affordable to working-class families are rated "very low opportunity" on a comprehensive index of neighborhood opportunity. 

How are people using this data? The analyses in this report served as the basis for factsheets and maps developed with Working Partnerships, Urban Habitat, and EBASE to support their tenant protection policy campaigns. The Bay Area Economic Council used this data in their reports analyzing policy solutions to the housing crisis in Alameda County. KQED Forum host Michael Krasny used it to open up his conversation with housing activist Randy Shaw about his book Generation Priced Out. The Partnership for the Bay's Future used our data to frame the need for investment in housing solutions.

Media mentions: Housing Is Key to Bay Area's Economic Future, Study Finds (Philanthropy News Digest), New Report Examines the Bay Area's Broken Housing Market (Planetizen), World Journal

Supporting Small Businesses to Do Well and Do Good in the 21st Century

Overview

A thriving, inclusive economy depends on the success and growth of small businesses. Nearly half of all workers are employed at a small business; and businesses owned by women and people of color have created 1.3 million new jobs between 2007 and 2012. This brief looks at small businesses and the barriers they face in providing good jobs obstacles, as well as key strategies being implemented by various actors in the business development ecosystem—technical assistance providers, small-business lenders and investors, economic development agencies, business associations, and workforce and labor partners—to help small businesses get on the road to good jobs.

Employment Equity: Putting Georgia on the Path to Inclusive Prosperity

Overview

This brief describes why employment equity is critical to Georgia’s economic future and lays out a policy roadmap to achieve employment equity. It is based on data analysis and modeling of a “full-employment economy” (defined as when everyone who wants a job can find one), which was conducted by the Program for Environmental and RegionalEquity (PERE) at the University of Southern California as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Partnership for Southern Equity.  See the detailed methodology and fact sheet "Employment Equity: The Path to a More Competitive Georgia."

Inclusive Procurement And Contracting: Building a Field of Policy and Practice

Overview

This study, co-authored by Emerald Cities and PolicyLink, and generously supported by a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, surveys the current landscape on inclusive procurement and contracting policies and practices in the infrastructure and construction industries. The goal was to specifically determine how to best position minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses (MWDBEs) to effectively compete for large-scale construction projects in these industries. A successful inclusive procurement program of action is key not only to providing jobs, but also to closing the wealth gap needed to secure the well-being and future of children, families, and the regions in which they live.

This report details the rationale for inclusive practices in this industry and includes historical and current equitable development policies and trends. It also identifies challenges and best practices and sets forth recommendations for strengthening the field of practice. The report provides insight into inclusive procurement and contracting policies within the energy, water, transportation, health, education, and public housing sectors. It also considers the field of practice in different geographic regions of the United States. Download executive summary here.

Equity Summit 2018 Program

Overview

The Summit is a call to activists, organizers, and leaders to step into our power, activate our imaginations, and set the national agenda. That agenda will build on what’s been learned about advancing equity and justice and will push us to achieve the scale required for all to reach our full potential. 

See program for full agenda. (Last revised 03-21-18)
See program overview in Spanish here.

For Summit Attendees: Please download the Equity Summit App for latest program. There have key changes to a few sessions, including room changes, since 03-21-18.

Healthy Communities of Opportunity: An Equity Blueprint to Address America's Housing Challenges

Overview

From San Francisco, California to Flint, Michigan, the nation is facing an escalating housing crisis. Skyrocketing rents, inadequate infrastructure and stagnant wages are some of the barriers that are preventing millions of low-income Americans and communities of color from reaching their full potential. Healthy Communities of Opportunity: An Equity Blueprint to Address America’s Housing Challenges weaves together insights from the fields of healthcare, housing and economic security to outline a case for progressive, equity-focused policy.

Placing the contemporary housing crisis within the context of American Urban History, this report highlights key movements offering countermeasures to concentrated poverty, racial segregation, economic mobility and substandard housing, including:

  • Tying preventive health spending to housing interventions
  • Addressing housing and health equity in land use and resilience/sustainability planning in the built environment
  • Leveraging the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to address health and equity outcomes
  • Building anti-displacement campaigns across local coalitions and national networks to gain increased tenant protections
  • Applying new investment tools to increase housing affordability

Healthy Communities of Opportunity suggests 10 equity housing policy priorities that together provide a strong platform to improve racial equity, health, climate, and economic opportunity outcomes.

Advancing Employment Equity in Alabama

Overview

850,000 of Alabama's working-age adults are economically insecure and struggling to find good jobs: jobs that pay enough to support a family, offer safe working conditions, and provide meaningful opportunities to move up the economic ladder. Advancing Employment Equity in Alabama describes why employment equity — when everyone who wants a job can find one — is critical to Alabama's economic future and offers a policy roadmap to achieve employment equity. It is based on data analysis and modeling of a "full-employment economy" as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Alabama Asset Building Coalition. With full employment for all, Alabama's economy would be $3.9 billion stronger every year. However, to realize these gains, state leaders must be willing to eliminate barriers to employment through efforts such as expanding public transportation options, banning the box on criminal background checks, and supporting the growth of minority- and women-owned business enterprises. This is the second of five briefs about employment equity in southern states co-produced by PolicyLink, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California, and local partners with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Download the report, detailed methodology, and fact sheet "Employment Equity: The Path to a More Competitive Alabama."

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