The New York Foundation looks to connect its grantees and other nonprofit organizations in New York City with resources useful in achieving our common goals. With our Knowledge Center we collect reports, case studies, policy briefs, and other knowledge assets produced by New York Foundation grantees and affiliated organizations. While some of these works were funded by the Foundation, our goal in providing this collection is to put a spotlight on the contributions that Foundation grantees have made to social issue analysis and problem solving.
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Where's My Seat? How School Overcrowding Disproportionally Impacts Immigrant Communities in New York City

November 1, 2015

School overcrowding, which occurs when "the number of students enrolled in the school is larger than the number of students the school was designed to accommodate," is rampant in New York City's public school system. Across the city, students are forced to learn in crammed classrooms, ill-equipped trailers or temporary classroom units (TCUs), or other spaces not intended for instruction. New York City's Department of Education (DOE) has acknowledged that more than 49,000 new seats need to be created to address the problem and committed to creating fewer than 33,000 new seats in coming years, and other more likely estimates put the number at more than 100,000.

The Roof Over Our Heads: The Case for Stronger Enforcement of New York City's Housing Maintenance Code

October 16, 2013

In 2007, the City Council passed the Safe Housing Act, groundbreaking legislation that took a targeted approach to improving the worst living conditions for New Yorkers and authorized the creation of the Alternate Enforcement Program (AEP). Each year, through the AEP, the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) selects 200 of the city's most poorly-maintained residential buildings and notifies their landlords that the buildings require wide-scale repairs. If a landlord then fails to make those repairs, HPD may intervene to have the repairs made and recoup the cost of the repairs from the landlord.Nevertheless New York City continues to face a housing crisis, with much of its affordable housing stock falling into disrepair and many low-income tenants living in appalling conditions.After hearing reports of landlords taking advantage of the AEP to force low-income tenants out, renovate the apartments and then rent to young professionals willing to pay a significantly higher rent, MRNY conducted a survey of tenants in AEP buildings. MRNY surveyed 85 tenants in AEP buildings in the area surrounding MRNY's Brooklyn office, surveying tenants from a range of building sizes and covering buildings from all five years of the AEP. Here, we report the results of those surveys. After five years of the AEP, they provide significant insight into the functioning of the AEP from the perspective of AEP building tenants -- both in terms of those aspects of the AEP that function well and should be expanded upon, and those aspects of the AEP that may require improvement. They also point the way towards other enforcement mechanisms that might better preserve New York City's housing stock and ensure that all tenants live in conditions that are safe, sanitary and comfortable.

Sandy's Mold Legacy: The Unmet Need Six Months After the Storm

May 1, 2013

Just over six months ago, Hurricane Sandy hit the shores of New York, bringing floods and standing water to neighborhoods across the tri-state area. But if the destructive capacity of flooding and water damage was bad, it soon became clear homeowners were faced with an even greater threat. Flooded homes not dried out within 24 to 48 hours were at serious risk of developing mold infestations, threatening the health and safety of thousands of New Yorkers. At the end of January 2013, city administrators created the privately funded Neighborhood Revitalization NYC program ("NRNYC" or "the program") to remediate 2,000 homes, responding to growing reports of mold contamination in the press.The organizations that drafted this report have engaged with the City and the non-governmental agency administering the Neighborhood Revitalization NYC program throughout the several months it has existed, and have been able to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the program. The city and program administrators have been extremely open to feedback, and many obstacles have been improved because of that openness. However, as the results of this study indicate, for a variety of reasons, the city's current approach to mold remediation post-Sandy needs expansion and improvement. Six months later, the acute need for mold remediation across New York City has not abated, and mold's disproportionate impact on low-income and immigrant communities has resulted in displacement, sickness, and continued crisis in Sandy-affected neighborhoods. Major community-based organizations with roots in those neighborhoods have stepped in to help construct solutions. Members of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding, a coalition of labor unions and community, faith-based, environmental and policy organizations across New York, have begun to survey residents in order to meaningfully assess the post-Sandy mold crisis across the city. In March and April, Faith in New York (formerly Queens Congregations United for Action), Make the Road NY, and New York Communities for Change conducted phone and door-to-door surveys across the Rockaways and in Staten Island, reaching almost 700 households. Feedback from residents forms the basis for this report's analysis of the threat of mold in hurricane-ravaged neighborhoods and our recommendations on how city leaders should respond to the crisis.

Know Your Rights Manual: Rikers Deportation Law 2011

February 19, 2013

Local Law 2011/6 means that New York City will no longer hand over its residents to federal immigration authorities if they meet several criteria: they have not been convicted of a crime, they have no criminal cases, criminal warrants, or outstanding deportation warrants or orders pending against them, and they are not listed on federal gang and terrorism databases. In other words, New York City will not hand over immigrants who are found not guilty, have their charges dropped, or obtain a non-criminal outcome (such as a violation or "youthful offender" conviction) in their case. This manual helps community members to undertand new protections for immigrants in the Department of Correction Facilities.

Unmet Needs: Superstorm Sandy and Immigrant Communities in the Metro New York Area

December 1, 2012

More than a month after Superstorm Sandy, many New Yorkers continue to struggle with the devastation of their homes, neighborhoods and livelihoods. One group that has faced particular challenges, but has received little attention are the region's thousands of immigrants. Some of the areas hardest hit by Sandy--such as Staten Island and Long Island--are home to large populations of recent immigrants.For this report, we conducted surveys of 416 residents of selected localities in Long Island and Staten Island. We also conducted in-depth interviews to gather more detailed testimonies from certain survey respondents. We selected geographical areas in Staten Island and Long Island that were greatly affected by Sandy and had large numbers of immigrants. We conducted door-to-door outreach, as well as outreach at Make the Road New York disaster aid clinics, relief sites (both governmental and charity), food pantries, Laundromats, and local businesses. In order to reach impacted individuals, we conducted outreach at a variety of sites because many who had been displaced from their homes could not be reached through a door-to-door canvas.Surveys were conducted at different times of the day and on different days of the week. We interviewed people who self identified as immigrants. The survey was confidential and voluntary. The survey instrument is included in Appendix A of this report. 70% of respondents are Long Island residents. 30% are Staten Island residents. 61% of respondents rent their homes. 36% of respondents identify as having limited pro?ciency in English.

Transgressive Policing: Police Abuse of LGBTQ Communities of Color in Jackson Heights, Queens

October 1, 2012

After hearing numerous complaints of police abuse and misconduct against LGBTQ people in Jackson Heights, Queens, Make the Road New York (with help from the Anti-Violence Project) surveyed over 300 Queens residents about their experiences with police in the neighborhood. The survey findings and individual testimonies reveal a disturbing and systemic pattern of police harassment, violence, and intimidation directed at LGBTQ community members. The discriminatory use of "stop and frisks" in the policing of communities of color has been well documented -- the 110th and 115th precincts that are responsible for policing Jackson Heights had 90%-93% rates of stop and frisk activity towards people of color in 2011. Our survey reveals, however, that within this community LGBTQ people of color are particularly targeted.

Rx for Safety: SafeRx Recommendations for Clear and Accessible Prescription Medication

July 1, 2012

Every New Yorker should understand his or her prescription medication labels and should have safe access to prescription medications. Make the Road New York (MRNY), Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) have championed the issue of safe access to prescription medications in New York State by advocating for the passage of legislation designed to address patient safety. As a result of our efforts, the efforts of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT), and the New York State Legislature, pharmacy language access and label standardization legislation (SafeRx) was passed in the New York State Budget in April 2012. This is the first state law of its kind in the United States, propelling New York as a leader in protecting consumers.While enactment of SafeRx has been a tremendous victory, the New York State Board of Pharmacy (SBOP), comprised of pharmacy industry representatives, is tasked with developing regulations to implement SafeRx before it goes into full effect. In response, we are producing this report to make recommendations that balance consumer interests with industry interests and that are based on medical literature and industry best practices. In Part One, our report describes what is required under SafeRx and includes answers to frequently asked questions about SafeRx. In Part Two we discuss our SafeRx recommendations.

Home Court Advantage: How Landlords Are Winning and Tenants Are Losing in Brooklyn Housing Court

December 1, 2011

Although there is broad consensus among housing attorneys and housing policy advocates that Brooklyn Housing Court has problems that can and should be addressed, as far as we are aware, significant action and specific recommendations have yet to be made in this regard. This report identifies a number of key challenges at Brooklyn Housing Court and offers a series of recommendations regarding opportunities for improvement.

Rent Fraud: Illegal Rent Increases and the Loss of Affordable Housing in New York City

August 1, 2011

By analyzing rent registration histories ("rent histories") from 200 randomly selected apartments from across New York City and examining the Division of Housing and Community Renewal's (DHCR) services, this study investigates how often landlords register illegally high rents with DHCR and considers how well DHCR addresses the problem of illegal rent increases. The findings are troubling.

Protecting Workers' Right to Be Paid: A Handbook for Advocates

January 28, 2011

Community and legal advocates throughout New York State meet countless workers each week who face an overwhelming set of injustices at work. Strategizing about how to attack the problems requires understanding what the workers' legal rights are, whether enforcing those rights is feasible, and what would it take -- beyond merely enforcing existing rights -- to bring justice to the workplace.This Handbook is designed to provide advocates with practical tools for analyzing the injustices workers face, determining what workers' legal rights are, and strategizing about how best to enforce those rights. The Handbook will focus primarily on workers' rights to be paid, with reference to other rights throughout. It provides advocates with concrete tips for analyzing whether a worker has a potential case and ideas for how best to proceed. It is important to note, however, that many of the law's requirements are very technical and fact-specific. Thus, this Handbook does not and cannot provide actual legal advice to advocates or workers.

Still Lost in Translation: City Agencies' Compliance with Local Law 73 and Executive Order 120: Examining Progress and Work Still to Be Done

July 1, 2010

Make the Road New York (MRNY) and The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) led a campaign and were instrumental in passing the two laws -- Local Law 73 and Executive Order 120 -- that collectively call for city government agencies to provide free translation, interpretation and other communication assistance services to limited-English-proficient (LEP) New Yorkers. Local Law 73 was due to be fully implemented over the course of 2009, whereas Executive Order 120 required all impacted City agencies to provide language services and have a coherent implementation plan in place by January 2009. With the generous support of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, MRNY and NYIC in partnership with Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York (KCS), and South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) surveyed individuals who had interacted with staff of the Human Resources Administration (HRA), Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), and New York City Police Department (NYPD) to assess how well government agencies were implementing language access programs. By monitoring the implementation process, MRNY and NYIC hoped to identify areas of progress as well as obstacles that have prevented the legal mandates embodied in Local Law 73 and Executive Order 120 from being fully realized.

Transgender Need Not Apply: A Report on Gender Identity Job Discrimination

May 1, 2010

Make the Road New York investigated possible employment discrimination against transgender job-seekers in Manhattan's retail sector using the research tool of matched pair testing. We sent out carefully matched pairs of job applicants, one transgender and one not, to apply for the same jobs. Each pair was equivalent in age and ethnicity and equipped with fictionalized resumes that were evenly matched. Both testing pairs underwent extensive training on how to adopt similar interview styles and how to document their job-seeking interactions objectively. Transgender testers were instructed to explicitly inform store managers and interviewers of their transgender status whenever feasible.Our research revealed an astonishingly high degree of employment discrimination against our transgender job applicants.

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