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As a long time supporter of the city's vibrant community organizing and advocacy groups, often in their earliest stages, we wanted to illustrate how these organizations — large and small—are often the connective tissue between community members and campaigns to win significant public policy change. We wanted to capture the rich complexity of our grantees' experiences and suspected that the most interesting, compelling parts of what we knew to be true couldn't be easily explained by turning them into data sets.
This report shares the lessons learned from two 2019 statewide campaigns that were led by grassroots organizations working in coalition with broader policy and advocacy networks. Housing Justice for All and Green Light NY won significant changes for low-income renters and driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, respectively. The campaigns challenged the model of traditional top-down advocacy by centering directly-impacted people from low-income communities of color in leadership and decisionmaking. Both campaigns also demonstrated that community power can be leveraged between grassroots electoral organizing and issue-based legislative campaigns. Finally, by centering member-led organizations from rural, suburban and urban communities, the campaigns demonstrated how progressive policy changes require long-term investment in groups that build people power across regional difference through shared mass mobilization strategies.
CASA is proud to present our new white paper, Resisting Displacement: Lessons from CASA's Tenant Organizing in the Southwest Bronx!In the last year, CASA has organized or provided technical assistance to over 90 buildings, which are home to more than 7,000 families. In the last year alone, over 4,000 tenants have actively engaged in CASA's work. Our new white paper shares lessons in tenant organizing, explores the forces of displacement that we are up against, and solutions for fighting displacement in the context of an impending rezoning.This is a critical moment for the Southwest Bronx. A potential rezoning is imminent, and could have devastating impacts on low-income tenants of color, their communities, and the state of affordable housing. CASA has drawn on our organizing experience, coalition work, previous research and the experiences of the tenants we work with to draft this white paper.In the report we:Present a clear and accurate definition of displacement and counter the false assertion that most tenants leave neighborhoods by choice;Explain the tactics that landlords already use to exert displacement pressures on low-income tenants of color;Emphasize the risk of increased displacement posed by rezoning, and in particular the Jerome Avenue rezoning, when new housing is not genuinely affordable and there are insufficient protections against displacement;Offer solutions that would protect tenants from displacement, allow them to remain in their homes, and preserve their communities.
As a long time supporter of the city's vibrant community organizing and advocacy groups, often in their earliest stages, we wanted to illustrate how these organizations—large and small—are often the connective tissue between community members and campaigns to win significant public policy change. We wanted to capture the rich complexity of our grantees' experiences and suspected that the most interesting, compelling parts of what we knew to be true couldn't be easily explained by turning them into data sets.Determined to draw a fuller picture of what happens when community members come together around common concerns, we decided to ask our grantees directly, and found:1. Wins and accomplishments fell across a wide spectrum.2. Groups used multiple, sophisticated strategies to achieve policy wins and accomplishments.3. Each win or accomplishment had its own distinctive and instructive story with a strong human element.
A People's Budget: A Research and Evaluation Report on the Pilot Year of Participatory Budgeting in New York CitySeptember 20, 2012
Participatory budgeting (PB) is a new process for capital budgeting in which voters directly decide how to spend millions of their own tax dollars, a first in New York City and only the second such initiative in the United States. The report details findings about who participated, and the impact PB has had on attitudes towards government, civic engagement and leadership skills. The research is based on over 5,000 surveys, 35 interviews and hundreds of observations.
Beyond Methadone: Improving Health and Empowering Patients in Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) - Hepatitis C, Overdose Prevention, Syringe Exchange, Buprenorphine, & Other Opportunities to Make Programs Work for PatientsOctober 6, 2011
Over the last three decades, the War on Drugs has stripped people of myriad rights, blocked life-saving public health policies and created new social problems, such as housing and job discrimination. The negative consequences of criminalization are not felt equally, as communities of color and low-income people are much more likely to be targeted for drug-related law enforcement. Increasingly, New York has recognized that drug use is more effectively addressed through a health and safety approach, rather than a criminal-justice approach. One important example is Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs), which offer methadone and buprenorphine (synthetic opioids) to people who are dependent on heroin and other opioids. Methadone treatment has been shown to be highly effective in reducing the risk of HIV and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), drug overdose and incarceration while also improving a person's quality of life. In fact, nearly 30,000 New York City residents rely on methadone maintenance treatment to manage their dependence on heroin and other opioids. Policymakers and public health officials should devote attention to improving OTPs for several reasons. First, serious health issues affecting active and former drug users, such as HCV and overdose, can be mitigated through effective methadone programs. Second, drug-policy reforms have diverted people into treatment programs over prison. Third, growing interest in reducing Medicaid spending has drawn attention to effective treatments for drug use and related harms. Lastly, the New York Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (OASAS), the state oversight agency, may soon be consolidated with other state agencies, opening up the possibility for review of its programs. While methadone can reduce government spending and improve public health, VOCAL New York (VOCAL-NY) has identified a number of concerns related to the provision of care at OTPs in New York City. Accordingly, with the research support of the Community Development Project (CDP) of the Urban Justice Center, VOCAL-NY conducted the current study to gather detailed data from the perspective of OTP patients on the key challenges and opportunities for OTPs in New York City.
Doing the Work that Makes All Work Possible: A Research Narrative of Filipino Domestic Workers in the Tri-state Area - Executive SummaryOctober 23, 2010
DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association, in partnership with the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center, engaged in this multi-year study to understand the plight of Filipino domestic workers living in the tri-state area. The study utilized a community-based participatory action research approach (CBPAR). From inception to release, domestic workers, their children, staff members and volunteers have been involved in multiple levels of this research. Domestic workers were purposefully involved in the analyzing, writing and designing of the report. While there are volumes of literature written about the conditions of Filipino domestic workers worldwide, few studies focus on the migration and labor of Filipino domestic workers in the US; and none have made Filipino domestic workers comprehensively integral to the CBPAR process such as this one.
Domestic Workers and Collective Bargaining: A Proposal for Immediate Inclusion of Domestic Workers in the New York State Labor Relations ActOctober 1, 2010
Since 2000, Domestic Workers United (DWU), a community-based organization of 4000 nannies, housekeepers, and elder caregivers, has organized for power and fair labor standards, building a movement for change. This summer, DWU's efforts culminated in a historic victory: New York became the first state in the nation to pass a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. In accordance with this new law, the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) is to prepare a report by November 1, 2010 on the feasibility of collective bargaining in the domestic-work industry. As domestic workers are currently excluded from collective-bargaining laws, DWU has begun to study what inclusion would mean and which models of collective bargaining would function best in this industry. Based on DWU's research and as an appropriate next step after the passage of the Bill of Rights, DWU recommends that the New York State Legislature amend Section 701(3) of the State Labor Relations Act (SLRA) by December 31, 2010 to eliminate the exclusion of domestic workers. The DOL and the Legislature should also ensure that the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the SLRA's governing body, has the flexibility and authority necessary to determine bargaining structures for this sector. This report documents the inconsistent, informal, and uncertain nature of domestic employment and concludes that domestic workers need the right to collectively bargain. Inclusion under the SLRA would represent more than a symbolic gesture: the law's important protections would allow New York State's domestic workforce to lead the way in exploring collective bargaining.
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