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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ORGANIZING IS DIFFERENT NOW

March 23, 2022

RTCNYC and TakeRoot Justice conducted a participatory action research project to investigate the impact of Right to Counsel on tenant organizing among low-income tenants. We conducted focus groups with tenants and with housing organizers. Utilizing a participatory action research model, tenants and organizers participated in the development of research instruments, were trained to administer the research, facilitated focus groups, and engaged in opportunities for skill-building and leadership development.Our research shows:* Right to Counsel strengthens organizing in a variety of ways. It serves as a know-your-rights tool, helps build a base of involved tenants, and opens the door to new organizing tactics and strategies.* Tenants feel less stress and fear knowing they have the right to legal representation in court, which helps them navigate housing court with confidence and success and prompts them to take action against their landlords.* Right to Counsel creates opportunities for tenants, organizers, and attorneys to navigate relationships, share knowledge and history and provide trainings, all in the service of building the tenants' rights movement.* The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition is deliberate and successful in creating and sustaining a tenant-led infrastructure and movement-building spaces.These findings demonstrate the various ways in which the Right to Counsel meaningfully contributes to New York City's robust tenant movement. These findings also offer insight and inspiration for tenants and organizers fighting for the Right to Counsel in their cities.

Alternative to Incarceration & Reentry Services for the LGBTGNCNBQI+ Community in NYC: Research Findings, Best Practices, and Recommendations for the Field

October 20, 2021

In order to assess the cultural competency of ATI and reentry services specific to the LGBTGNCNBQI+ population in New York City, a participatory action research project was conducted in the fall of 2020. This project was conceived by the Legal Action Center and the New York ATI/Reentry Coalition. TakeRoot Justice provided substantive professional support in partnership with a leadership team of formerly incarcerated LGBTGNCNBQI+ individuals. New York City and State are nationally known for their highly effective network of ATI and reentry programs, which have been critical to the State's success in simultaneously reducing crime and the prison population and saving taxpayers millions of dollars. However, while New York has substantially reduced the number of people behind bars, it continues to incarcerate many thousands of individuals who could benefit from an alternative to incarceration programs which, when targeted appropriately, are more effective than prison in reducing recidivism and are ultimately less costly than incarceration. Our research shows that, despite the robust range of reentry services available, existing ATI and reentry programs are limited both in their LGBTGNCNBQI+ cultural competency and ability to meet the specific service needs of LGBTGNCNBQI+ people, resulting in this broad and diverse community being significantly underserved by current programs. In addition to results from the survey, profiles of various members of the formerly incarcerated LGBTGNCNBQI+ community in New York City are also included in the report. With this information, we were able to find out more about what service providers in New York City are currently doing and where they need more support - and to also begin to identify and direct them to resources that can help. LGBTGNCNBQI+ people leaving incarceration and returning home to any of the five boroughs need the support of ATI and reentry service programs that understand and can address their specific needs. This report aims to help providers identify and address areas of deficiency, as well as success, within their organizations, as they strive to offer comprehensive, welcoming, culturally competent, high-standard, accessible services to LGBTGNCNBQI+ participants. 

Licensing A Legacy

December 8, 2020

Hair braiding is a profession largely by and for Black women.  It represents an integral part of many African cultures and is a part of cultural heritage for African women.  For many African immigrant women, hair braiding is also the most marketable skill and accessible employment to support their families here and back home. However, working as a hair braider is not as simple as one might think.  African immigrant hair braiders are a marginalized workforce facing numerous challenges, including regulatory and structural barriers to practicing their craft.  Most have not been able to obtain the Natural Hair Styling license, which is required by the State to do their work. Our report sheds light on these issues and lays out recommendations to make the license more accessible.The report is the culmination of a Participatory Action Research project that centered on the leadership of African hair braiders.  ACT conducted nearly 350 surveys, three focus groups, and interviews with braiders.  Our research found that surveyed hair braiders want licenses and feel the pressure and fear of being unlicensed: they are concerned about the fact that they are unlicensed, which leaves them vulnerable to theft of services and penalties from authorities for license violations. Our data also show that the State licensing process imposes significant barriers on braiders who want to obtain a Natural Hair Styling license. Most braiders lack information about the requirements to apply for the license. Barriers like language access, literacy, and the time and cost of training programs put the license out of reach for most braiders. The report details policy recommendations to improve African hair braiders' access to licensure, including improving access to information about the license, revising the course and examination requirements, streamlining the process by which braiders can document prior experience, and more.

VOUCHERS TO NOWHERE: How Source of Income Discrimination Happens and the Policies That Can Fix It

September 14, 2020

VOCAL-NY partnered with TakeRoot Justice to conduct a participatory action research project to document the experience of looking for housing with subsidies. The findings derive primarily from matched pair testing: the representatives of 114 apartment listings advertised on Zillow and Trulia were contacted by researchers. Each representative was contacted by someone presenting as having a housing subsidy as well as by someone presenting with income from employment. The outcomes of the outreach were then compared to evaluate differences in treatment. In addition to matched pair testing, we also called the Brooklyn-based property management companies and apartment buildings listed on a resource list provided by the New York City Human Resources Administration to evaluate the usefulness of that list.This research was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City and our communities. Stable housing has always been a public health issue, and the pandemic has brought that issue into great relief, as the City has struggled to meet basic safety standards for homeless New Yorkers. As more New Yorkers find themselves in need of support and safety nets to survive the economic fallout of the pandemic, housing must be more accessible to subsidy holders. The findings from our research are more salient than ever. As housing insecurity grows throughout the city, more protections need to be in place for tenants who rely on subsidies to pay their rent.

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