June 2021

Advancing Park Equity in California

Overview

The global pandemic, and resulting economic crisis brought on by Covid-19, has laid bare the deep racial and economic inequities that persist in every aspect of life in the United States. For millions of Californians who have been sheltering in place over the last year, parks have provided a space to get fresh air, exercise, and meet with loved ones in a physically distanced and appropriate manner. In this context, parks have taken on a renewed importance both as critical to reducing the chronic health problems that put people at increased risk of serious complications or death from Covid, and as invaluable spaces for residents to stay healthy and active while adhering to physical distancing requirements.

Advancing Park Equity in California explores the need to deepen investment in parks and offers recommendations to California lawmakers. 

January 2021

Advancing Workforce Equity in Boston: A Blueprint for Action

Overview

In the Boston metropolitan area, as in the rest of the nation, deep racial inequities are built into the regional economy. This report, produced in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and SkillWorks, provides a comprehensive analysis of long-standing racial gaps in labor market outcomes, the economic impacts of Covid-19, and the racial equity implications of automation. Our in-depth analysis of disaggregated equity indicators and labor market dynamics found that only 47 percent of the region’s workers hold good jobs, that White workers with only a high school diploma earn on average about 10 percent more than Black workers with an associate’s degree, and that eliminating racial inequities in income could boost the Boston regional economy by almost $45 billion a year. The report concludes with a blueprint for action to advance workforce equity across the region, informed by the data and shaped by local leaders. Download the report.

Additional resources:

Media: New Research Highlights Racial Inequities in the Boston Area Workforce and Makes Actionable Recommendations for Equitable Economic Recovery (PR News Wire)

January 2021

Advancing Workforce Equity in Seattle: A Blueprint for Action

Overview

In the Seattle metropolitan area, as in the rest of the nation, deep racial inequities are built into the regional economy. This report, produced in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, offers a comprehensive analysis of long-standing racial gaps in labor market outcomes, the economic impacts of Covid-19, and the racial equity implications of automation. It provides in-depth, disaggregated data on equity indicators and labor market dynamics, finding that only 44 percent of the region’s workers hold good jobs, that White workers with less than a high school diploma earn higher average wages than Black workers with an associate’s degree, and that eliminating racial inequities in income could boost the Seattle metro economy by $33 billion a year. Finally, it provides a blueprint for action to advance workforce equity informed by the data and developed by local leaders. Download the report.

Additional resources:

Media: New Research Highlights Racial Disparities in the Workforce in Seattle and Makes Actionable Recommendations for Equitable Economic Recovery (PR News Wire)

January 2021

Advancing Workforce Equity in Dallas and Collin Counties: A Blueprint for Action

Overview

In Dallas and Collin counties, Texas, as in the rest of the nation, deep racial inequities are built into the regional economy. This report, produced in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and Pathways to Work at the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, offers a comprehensive analysis of long-standing racial gaps in labor market outcomes, the economic impacts of Covid-19, and the racial equity implications of automation. It provides in-depth, disaggregated data on equity indicators and labor market dynamics, finding that only 40 percent of the region’s workers hold good jobs, that White workers with only a high school diploma earn on average the same wages as Black or Latinx workers with an associate’s degree, and that eliminating racial inequities in income could boost the combined economy of Dallas and Collin counties by $115 billion a year. Finally, it outlines a blueprint for action to advance workforce equity, informed by the data and crafted by local leaders. Download the report.

Additional resources:

Media: New Research Highlights Racial Disparities in the Workforce in Dallas and Collin Counties and Makes Actionable Recommendations for Equitable Economic Recovery (Yahoo Finance) 

January 2021

Advancing Workforce Equity in Chicago: A Blueprint for Action

Overview

In the Chicagoland area, as in the rest of the nation, deep racial inequities are built into the regional economy. This report, produced in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, offers a comprehensive analysis of long-standing racial gaps in labor market outcomes, the economic impacts of Covid-19, and the racial equity implications of automation. It provides in-depth, disaggregated data on equity indicators and labor market dynamics, finding that only 41 percent of the region’s 4.2 million workers hold good jobs, that White workers with only a high school diploma earn on average the same wages as Black workers with an associate’s degree, and that eliminating racial inequities in income could boost the Chicagoland economy by $136 billion a year. Finally, it provides a blueprint for action to advance workforce equity informed by the data and driven by local leaders. Download the report.

Additional resources:

Media: New Research Highlights Racial Inequities in the Chicago Area Workforce and Proposes Recommendations for Equitable Economic Recovery (PR News Wire)

November 2020

Race and the Work of the Future: Advancing Workforce Equity in the United States

Overview

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, massive job losses, rapidly evolving business models, and accelerating technological change are dramatically reshaping the US economy. This report, produced in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, provides a comprehensive analysis of long-standing racial gaps in labor market outcomes, the economic impacts of Covid-19, and the racial equity implications of automation. It provides an in-depth analysis of disaggregated equity indicators and labor market dynamics, finding that White workers are 50 percent more likely than workers of color to hold good jobs and that eliminating racial inequities in income could boost the US economy by $2.3 trillion a year. In addition to detailed data analysis on the state of racial inequities in jobs and opportunity, the report offers a bold framework for action to advance workforce equity, where racial income gaps have been eliminated, all jobs are good jobs, and everyone who wants to work has access to family-supporting employment.

Media: How Companies Can Help Conquer Racial Inequity and Create Future Work for Black Americans (Black Enterprise) 

Webinar Recording: Race and the Work of the Future: Advancing Workforce Equity

January 2021

Advancing Workforce Equity in the Bay Area: A Blueprint for Action

Overview

In the nine-county Bay Area, as in the rest of the nation, deep racial inequities are built into the regional economy. This report, produced in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and ReWork the Bay, offers a comprehensive analysis of long-standing racial gaps in labor market outcomes, the economic impacts of Covid-19, and the racial equity implications of automation. It provides in-depth, disaggregated data on equity indicators and labor market dynamics, finding that only 47 percent of the region’s workers hold stable jobs, that White workers with only a high school diploma earn higher wages, on average, than Latinx workers with an associate’s degree, and that eliminating racial inequities in income could boost the Bay Area economy by $348 billion a year. Finally, it provides a blueprint for action to advance workforce equity informed by the data and crafted by local leaders. Download the report.

Additional resources:

Media: New Research Highlights Racial Inequities in the Bay Area Workforce and Makes Actionable Recommendations for Equitable Economic Recovery (PR Newswire)

May 2021

Preventing an Eviction and Debt Epidemic: Delivering Effective Emergency COVID-19 Rental Assistance in California

Overview

With California’s eviction moratorium scheduled to expire on June 30, more than 700,000 California households behind on rent, and less than half of one percent of the state’s total federal emergency pandemic rental assistance funds paid out, California faces a potential eviction epidemic. To inform policymaking to strengthen state’s rent relief program, Housing NOW, BARHII, and PolicyLink surveyed 177 people who understand the program the best: those conducting intake and outreach for state and local emergency rental assistance programs. We found that tenants are facing numerous challenges accessing relief, including technological and language barriers, difficulty supplying the necessary documentation of income losses, difficulty communicating with landlords or obtaining documentation from them, and fear of landlord harassment/retaliation or immigration enforcement.

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Put People First

Overview

During the last recession, corporations received massive bailouts while continuing with risky practices that undermined the strength of the economy, making us unprepared for the current shock from COVID019. Congress has started down this path once again, creating a half trillion-dollar fund to bail out corporations while millions of people are out of work. 

While initial legislative survival packages included modest stimulus checks and unemployment benefits to individuals, economists and struggling people alike have pointed out the immediate need to get more cash into people’s hands to stave off the crisis. Unless we put people first, the relief and recovery packages coming from Congress will only further concentrate wealth at the top and deepen inequities. In order to put people first, policymakers must: 

  • Support essential frontline workers.
  • Guarantee incomes.
  • Freeze costs and protect people from losses.
  • Prioritize people over corporations.

Invest in Community Infrastructure

Overview

For an equitable and lasting recovery from the coronavirus crisis, we must rebuild our physical infrastructure—food systems, water, housing, transit, and roads—as well as our social infrastructure—the trusted network of nonprofit, cultural, philanthropic, and local institutions that help our communities function. Both types of community-building infrastructure will play a critical role in helping communities recover and thrive. Resourcing this infrastructure sufficiently is critical, and investments must be made with an equity lens, prioritizing programs and policies that focus on those most impacted by COVID-19.

Now is the time to ensure that all people—regardless of race, income, or zip code—live in healthy communities of opportunity. This requires the following policy and investment actions: 

  • Fortify community-based organizations. 
  • Provide financial support for state and local governments.
  • Invest in physical infrastructure in high-need communities.

Build an Equitable Economy

Overview

In addition to exposing our extreme inequality, the pandemic has also revealed our interconnectedness: we are only as safe as the least protected among us. In a diversifying country, dismantling structural racism and ensuring economic security for all is the right thing to do and the necessary thing to do.

We need sustained and race-conscious policies and investments to stabilize people during the crisis and bridge to a more equitable future. To build an equitable economy, policymakers must: 

  • Ensure economic security during the crisis.
  • Use stimulus funds to build the next economy.
  • Forge a new social contract that enables shared prosperity. 

Protect and Expand Community Voice and Power

Overview

Generations of policies and practices—such as breached treaties, voter suppression, erosion of workers’ right to organize, and mass criminalization—have excluded vulnerable people from decision-making, resulting in government systems that don’t meet the needs of the people they purport to serve. This is not only a moral concern, but also a social, cultural, and economic liability. When entire populations are unable to fully participate in society, the enormous loss of potential affects the whole nation. 

With the coronavirus thrusting the country into a public health and economic crisis, our racial and structural inequities have become even more pronounced. To foster greater inclusion and self-determination, federal policymakers must: 

  • Center community voice in policymaking and spending. 
  • Protect the right to vote and increase access to the ballot box. 
  • Remove barriers to organizing and include labor unions in pandemic response planning. 

May 2020

Federal Policy Priorities for an Equitable COVID-19 Relief and Recovery

Overview

While Congress has taken some important initial steps, the relief packages so far have not done enough to address the challenges facing the one in three people living in or near poverty in the US. This brief, “Federal Policy Priorities for an Equitable COVID-19 Relief and Recovery,” outlines a number of specific policy recommendations for Congress to include in the next relief package to meet the needs of all people while building a bridge to a more equitable and climate-safe future.

Our op-ed on a federal job guarantee (NYTimes), authored by Angela Glover Blackwell and Darrick Hamilton, outlines how a public option for a job with living wages and full benefits can help households while addressing long-neglected community needs. This is the sort of bold action we need Congress to take to ensure an inclusive recovery and a more resilient future economy.

Download the report for additional policy priorities that must be part of the next COVID-19 relief package.

May 2020

Roadmap to Equitable Fine and Fee Reform

Overview

Fines and fees have devastated the lives of millions of Americans, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and punishment — with the harms overwhelmingly falling on people of color and people living on low incomes. State and local governments can support residents by eliminating fines and fees, and by creating sustainable ways to balance their budgets that don’t put the burden on residents. 

The Roadmap to Equitable Fine and Fee Reform shares approaches and practices to advance fine and fee reform. This guide is a distillation of the curriculum provided through the Cities & Counties for Fine and Fee Justice national network, and shares insights and direction for anyone interested in fine and fee reform, particularly leaders in cities and counties who are eager to address the widespread challenges presented by excessive fines and fees in their jurisdictions.

August 2020

In Pursuit of an Equitable Start: Leveraging and expanding public funding to support a more equitable recovery for young children, families and child care workers.

Overview

The majority of young children living in the United States today are children of color, cared for by parents and caregivers across a spectrum of identities. These children face increased economic insecurity as their parents navigate the high cost of leaving work to care for them or assume crippling child care costs, all while earning stagnantly low wages. Their families may also experience considerably unequal challenges to living in safe and secure housing, enrolling in affordable and high-quality early learning experiences, and accessing healthy food. Additionally, the emergency triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with its significant impact on families’ health and economic well-being, threatens to widen these gaps, especially for families of color who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and its economic fallout. This brief looks at how to leverage and expanding public funding to support a more equitable recovery for young children, families, and child care workers.

April 2020: Principles for a Common-Sense, Street-Smart Recovery (Complete Set)

Overview

From Hurricane Katrina to the 2008 financial collapse, we have seen how recovery efforts that do not deliberately solve for issues facing low-income communities and communities of color only serve to reinforce existing disparities. As we navigate our way through the COVID-19 crisis, we need a Common-sense, Street-smart Recovery to build an inclusive economy and equitable nation that works for all. To realize the promise of equity, leaders must be dedicated to the complete set of principles - listed below - and outlined in this document.

August 2020

Inclusive Processes to Advance Racial Equity in Housing Recovery: A Guide for Cities during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Overview

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a set of dire public health and economic challenges for communities across the country. The crisis strikes our most vulnerable communities and communities of color even harder, magnifying existing racial disparities in health, housing, and economic security. This brief is designed to help local government leadership and staff design public processes that use this crisis as an opportunity to further racial equity and build community capacity.

This process guide:

  • Outlines the reasons for pursuing an inclusive process (even in times of crisis)
  • Describes a developmental path that moves from simple, but ineffective, public engagement to authentic and meaningful community partnership
  • Provides real-world examples of steps that communities are taking to ensure that traditionally excluded communities have a real seat at the table when it comes to planning Covid-19 recovery efforts
  • Illustrates specific strategies and tools (both online and off) that local government agencies are using to effectively facilitate public input in the absence of face-to-face public meetings

Our companion guide, Strategies to Advance Racial Equity in Housing Response and Recovery: A Guide for Cities during the Covid-19 Pandemic, outlines policy and program design actions that communities can take to support an equitable recovery and advance racial equity in housing during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

Center Racial Equity [policy brief]

Overview

As the current public health and economic crisis continues to impact people around the world, we now know that across the United States, people of color are bearing the brunt of the effects of COVID-19.  Ensuring all people live in a society where they can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential requires recognizing that the path to getting there is different for different groups. Intentional investments in the 100 million economically insecure people in the United States, particularly for those who are people of color, will have benefits that cascade out, improving the lives of all struggling people as well as regional economies and the nation as a whole. We cannot simply tinker around the edges of systems that were never intended to serve all people. In order to center racial equity, policymakers must: 

  • Collect and use disaggregated data.
  • Plan for the most vulnerable.
  • Implement race-conscious approaches to counter persistent racial inequities.

August 2020

Strategies to Advance Racial Equity in Housing Response and Recovery: A Guide for Cities during the Covid-19 Pandemic:

Overview

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a set of dire public health and economic challenges for communities across the country. The crisis strikes our most vulnerable communities and communities of color even harder, magnifying existing racial disparities in health, housing, and economic security.

This brief provides a set of recommendations to advance racial equity in housing through the implementation of Covid-19 relief and recovery strategies, organized into four areas of action:

  1. Prevent evictions and protect tenants.
  2. Address homelessness and advance housing as a human right.
  3. Sustain and increase community ownership and permanently affordable housing.
  4. Divest from the police and invest in racial equity.

Our companion guide, Inclusive Processes to Advance Racial Equity in Housing Recovery: A Guide for Cities during the Covid-19 Pandemic, outlines principles and steps local government leadership and staff can take during this time of crisis to design public processes that further racial equity and build community capacity.

October 2020

Facing History, Uprooting Inequality: A Path to Housing Justice in California

Overview

This is one of two research reports drafted to inform, refocus, and help prioritize housing policy dialogues in two key jurisdictions: the city of Philadelphia and the state of California. Most of the housing reform initiatives to date in these two areas of focus have failed to acknowledge the ways that racially biased policymaking has contributed to the current housing crisis and, as a result, have perpetuated the racialized nature of how we got here. To better understand how such disparities have continued to persist for so long, these reports examine the history of the housing systems in each jurisdiction and outline a housing justice agenda that mitigates the threat of displacement, preserves communities, and increases access to neighborhoods of opportunity.

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