HIP and Ella Baker Center for Human Rights are excited to release The Long Road Home: Decreasing Barriers to Public Housing for People with Criminal Records. Using the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) as a case study, the report examines how policies that exclude people with criminal records from public housing affects health and equity in communities. It finds that current practices, in particular how OHA considers the presentation of “mitigating circumstances” for people with a criminal history during the application process can have long-lasting, damaging impacts. Report findings include: Historical policies have created racial disparities in housing and health outcomes. Access to stable housing serves as a foundation for families to improve their health, employment and education opportunities, family reunification, and social networks. Allowing applicants to present mitigating circumstances in their initial public housing applications would likely result in fewer denials because of a criminal history. The report also offers recommendations to create more inclusive housing policies that would decrease racial disparities, improve health outcomes, and reunite families: Allow public housing applicants with criminal records to present mitigating circumstances at the beginning of the application process. Eliminate the practice of evicting public housing residents for having family members with criminal… Read More >>
Human Impact Partners collaborated with a panel of public health experts to conduct an independent study – An Assessment of the Health and Safety Implications of Coal Transport through Oakland – of the health and safety risk of transporting up to 10 million tons of coal per year through the proposed bulk export terminal at the former Oakland Army Base. The study found that coal trains significantly increase concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in communities along rail lines due to emissions of both coal dust and diesel exhaust. PM2.5, even at levels already found in Oakland, is definitively associated with premature death and many severe medical problems including increases in lung cancer, hospitalization for heart and lung disease, emergency room visits, asthma attacks, adverse birth outcomes, school and work loss and respiratory symptoms. The study looked at other potential health impacts of the proposed project, including through explosions, climate change, and noise. It also reviewed the potential mitigations that have been proposed, including covering the rail cars carrying the coal and storing the coal indoors at the Army Base, and found that these mitigations are unproven and largely experimental. Click here for the press release.
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Public health professionals nationwide have joined the call for a complete overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system, arguing that the fear and anxiety it inflicts does irreparable harm to child growth and development, emotional stability, self-confidence, social skills and ability to learn. A robust body of research shows that this damage can last far into adult life. “Those of us working on the front lines in hospitals, clinics and community service organizations see every day the suffering caused by our broken immigration system,” said Lili Farhang, co-director of Human Impact Partners, a nonprofit that studies the health and equity impacts of public policy. HIP’s study, Family Unity, Family Health: How Family-Focused Immigration Reform Will Mean Better Health for Children and Families, documents the adverse health consequences of family instability, economic strain and toxic stress. The study found that without reforms that create a clear path to citizenship, each year hundreds of thousands of children of undocumented immigrants suffer poorer physical and mental health, lower educational achievement and increased poverty and hunger. “I see firsthand the toxic toll on children who are anxious and fearful that their parents could be taken away from them,” said Dr. Babak Ettekal, Site Medical… Read More >>
HIP and ISAIAH are excited to release Drowning in Debt: A Health Impact Assessment of How Payday Loan Reforms Improve the Health of Minnesota’s Most Vulnerable. The report looks at the compelling evidence of the harm caused by payday loans to the health and mental health of borrowers, their families, and their communities. It shows that reforms to payday lending – including elimination of the practice in the state – will help slow the wealth drain on individuals and the community, thereby reducing stress and preventing further harm to health and well-being. In 2014, Minnesota has 72 licensed storefronts, and along with Internet lenders, made more than 385,000 loans to about 50,000 borrowers. The cost of these loans is staggering: Totaling almost $150 million, the average loan amount was $390, with borrowers averaging 10 loan transactions a year. The average APR was 252%. The report describes the overall context for payday lending – including a changing economic climate and increased financial insecurity – and highlights how payday loans: Trap Minnesotans in a cycle of debt and increase inequities in income, wealth, and health Target and drain wealth from Minnesota’s most vulnerable communities Worsen financial insecurity and negatively affect employment Contribute… Read More >>
We are excited to share the release of Communicating about Equity in HIA: A Guide for Practitioners, which is authored by SOPHIA’s Equity Working Group. HIAs provide an opportunity to advance equity, but practitioners often struggle with how to effectively and strategically communicate about this core value of HIA. An effective approach to communication, including crafting a purposeful plan for the content and presentation of the HIA report and other materials, is fundamental to ensuring that HIAs can impact policies and support change. This guide intends to aid HIA practitioners in their efforts to communicate about equity as an essential step towards advancing equity through practice.
It’s here! Hot off the presses! In advance of an upcoming webinar, the national evaluation of community participation in HIA – a two-year study co-authored by Human Impact Partners and the Center for Community Health and Evaluation – is now available. The study looked at how community participation impacted core HIA values like democracy and equity, and how participation affected the success of the HIA. The study also synthesizes how community participants were identified, the outreach and participation methods used, the effectiveness of the methods, and what facilitated or created barriers to the process. Findings reveal that investment in higher levels of community participation: 1) pay off in higher levels of civic agency, such as improved individual civic skills and increased capacity for collective action, and 2) showed greater odds of an HIA impacting decision-making. Discuss these findings with the authors during a webinar on Thursday, January 28, at 2:00-3:30 Eastern/ 11:00-12:30 Pacific. Register here. Click below to read the: Executive Summary Full Report Appendices Visit the Tools & Resources section of this website for a recording of the webinar and to view the presentation used.
The first of its kind study describes the impact of community participation on civic agency – a community’s capacity to act in its own self-interest – and the success of an HIA, along with how well the field of HIA is doing at encouraging community participation. The evaluation intends to inform the work of HIA practitioners, and is relevant to researchers and organizations intending to authentically engage community members in addressing policy, program, or planning solutions. We’re hosting a webinar to share the evaluation’s very exciting and insightful findings on January 28 from 2:00-3:30 Eastern/ 11:00-12:30 Pacific. Please register here for the webinar, and we’ll follow-up with details soon.
HIP and partners today released Stress on the Streets (SOS): Race, Policing, Health, and Increasing Trust, not Trauma. The report describes the physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral impacts of current policing practices on communities of color and police officers, and promising practices to build trust and amend these harms. The report draws upon national research and original data from Ohio. Original information comes from 470 surveys of residents in select neighborhoods of Cincinnati and Akron, as well as 8 focus groups with community members in each city and police in Cincinnati. (The Cincinnati Police Department participated in the project; the Akron Police Department declined to participate.) Our findings include that there are profound impacts to the health of black people and police, including heightened stress and anxiety, with stark contrasts in experience by race. We conclude that specific changes in policing practices – including the overall model used, and in the use of four practices in particular – can build trust between police and black communities, improving public health and public safety. Executive Summary Full Report Appendices Website
Report Assessing the Health and Equity Impacts of the Reef Development Project in South Central Los Angeles
HIP and partners are excited to release our research report analyzing the health and equity impacts of the Reef Development Project in South Central Los Angeles. The report specifically assesses the ways that the Reef project would impact existing South Central residents in terms of two key concerns: financial strain and displacement. Rooted in historical context and the effects of gentrification, we found that the Reef Development Project will place thousands of South Central Los Angeles residents at high or very high risk of financial strain or displacement. Given the affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles and the longstanding disinvestment of South Central, the report recommends that the City and developers take necessary steps to provide and protect affordable housing for local residents, support small businesses, and plan its community development projects through a trauma-informed approach. This is a community development approach that recognizes and utilizes existing community members as vital assets for a sustainable future. Executive Summary (English) Executive Summary (Spanish) Final Report (English) Final Report (Spanish) Appendices