The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, and UJA-Federation of New York have collectively launched a new research study that will identify public policies that could have a significant impact in reducing poverty in New York City. This collaboration is born out of the shared values and traditions for caring for people in need and the extensive reach of their combined networks in helping all New Yorkers. The study was initiated in March 2014 and preliminary results are due this summer.

The Urban Institute has been retained to conduct the research, based on their work with the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute in Wisconsin. This is the first time UI will utilize this model in analyzing New York City specific data. The Urban Institute will study a set of public policies that focus on core human necessities: work, housing, food and financial assistance, for example, policies on transitional jobs; senior and disability tax credits; increased child care subsidies and supplements for low-wage workers. After receiving the results, the three organizations will reconvene to determine potential next steps.

While New York City and State have enacted numerous anti-poverty measures, poverty remains pervasive and seemingly intractable throughout New York, with 1.7 million people or 21% living below the federal poverty line. This research will use a slightly modified version of the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to assess NYC poverty levels. The SPM is a more accurate accounting of poverty than the official poverty measure because it accounts for the effects of important government benefits and taxes, work expenses (including childcare), and medical expenses on households’ standards of living (which the official measure does not.)

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