Social IMPACT Research Center Publications

The Social IMPACT Research Center has an extensive portfolio of needs assessment and evaluation research on issues facing poor and low-income populations. Our user-friendly work equips nonprofits, foundations, and governments to advance real-world solutions to poverty.
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Report on the Implementation and Early Outcomes of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership’s Career Connect Project

June 12, 2018

In July 2012, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) was awarded a three-yearWorkforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. The purpose of The Partnership's WIF project was to design, implement, and test an integrated workforce management information system (MIS), later named Career Connect, that:- Contains comprehensive and useful program- and customer-specific measures acrossfunding streams- Supports varied reporting capabilities; and- Provides the information necessary to adequately serve the needs of the workforce system'scustomers.The functional goal for the project is to have all Cook County workforce providers that receiveWorkforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title I funds (delegate agencies) using CareerConnect as their data system of record. This included 49 delegate agencies when the project beganand 53 by the time Career Connect was fully implemented in June 2017. Additionally, the goal is toinvite non-WIOA workforce providers to also use the system, though The Partnership cannot mandate its use for non-WIOA providers.In the following study, we:- Assess whether Career Connect achieved its desired outcomes;- Document the context and operations of Career Connect's design;- Assess the degree to which it was implemented as designed; and- Evaluate stakeholder participation.

It's Time We End Homelessness in Oak Park

November 9, 2016

To be homeless is to live on the streets. Or in a Housing Forward shelter. Or on someone's couch. In Oak Park, more than five percent of our residents live in extreme poverty, making less than $9,000 a year. About 15 percent of our residents are food insecure, meaning they don't know where they will get their next meal. Too many live one missed rent payment from eviction—and homelessness. The homeless are not just on our streets. They are our classmates at school, and our parents and friends from work or church or baseball teams. They are members of our community. In all, about 200 kids in elementary schools and high schools are homeless. They are living with friends or relatives sleeping on couches with no permanence. The Oak Park Homelessness Coalition is working to change that.Together, we can end homelessness in Oak Park.

Housing & Homelessness; Poverty

Racism's Toll: Report on Illinois Poverty

February 3, 2016

Poverty rates are two to three times higher for Illinoisans of color, and people of color fare far worse on nearly every measure of well-being. In the latest of its annual reports on poverty, "Racism's Toll," Heartland Alliance's Social IMPACT Research Center lays bare the moral, human, and economic cost of the deep inequities in the state and calls out public policies that have and are actively creating these racial inequities.

Confronting Homelessness in McHenry County: Strategic Plan to End Homelessness 2016-2018

December 31, 2015

In order to respond to local needs and to reach the goal of ending homelessness, McHenry County's homeless system spent 2015 engaged in a process to create a plan to end homelessness for McHenry County.This report captures McHenry County's plan and the work ahead. This new plan for McHenry County embodies strategic thinking around targeting resources to those most in need and likely to benefit through coordinated assessment; integrates and promotes best practices across housing and service interventions; and it identifies new partners, in new areas, to help seize critical opportunities and to leverage more support for the homeless system.

Not Even A Place in Line: Housing Choice Voucher Capacity and Waiting Lists in Illinois, 2015

November 4, 2015

This "Not Even a Place in Line" report captures the availability in Illinois (or lack thereof) of a core federal affordable housing program -- Housing Choice Vouchers -- to help address the dire need for affordable housing.Seventy-two percent of waiting lists for Housing Choice Vouchers in Illinois are closed. The 51 public housing authorities (PHAs) with closed waiting lists, out of a total of 71 PHAs in Illinois with voucher programs, administer 95 percent of the vouchers available in the state.This means that people in need of affordable rental housing in most every part of Illinois do not have the opportunity to even get in line to secure a federally funded subsidy that would alleviate their poverty and put their household in a better position to thrive.

2015 State Rankings Data

March 16, 2015

This companion to the report Poor by Comparison contains state rankings on over 25 different indicators related to poverty.

The Value of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Field in Illinois: A Social Return on Investment Analysis with Donors Forum

March 15, 2015

This Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis compares the public and private investment into the Illinois nonprofit arts and culture field to the social and economic value it creates for the individuals who experience the programs as participants, audience members, visitors and event-goers, and for society as a whole. Key findings include: Every dollar invested into the Illinois nonprofit arts and culture field generates an estimated $27 in socio-economic value.$23 of this socio-economic value accrues to individuals participating in nonprofit arts and culture programs, events, and activities.$4 of this socio-economic value accrues to society through increased tax revenue, increased spending in the state due to arts and culture jobs, and the ripple effect of audience spending in Illinois.The real utility of an SROI lies in its ability to reveal if and how our investments into programs pay off. And on that, this SROI of the nonprofit arts and culture field in Illinois is clear: investing in arts and culture yields dividends.

The Value of the Nonprofit Youth Development Field in Illinois: A Social Return on Investment Analysis with Donors Forum

March 15, 2015

This Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis compares the public and private investment into the Illinois nonprofit youth development field to the social and economic value it creates for the youth and families who experience the programs and for society as a whole. Almost $302 million is invested in over 275 Illinois nonprofits that do direct service youth development work, and those groups serve 1.2 million youth each year. Every dollar invested into the Illinois nonprofit youth development field generates an estimated $45 in socio-economic value.

The Value of the Nonprofit Environment Field in Illinois: A Social Return on Investment Analysis with Donors Forum

March 15, 2015

This Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis compares the public and private investment into the Illinois nonprofit environment field to the social, environmental, and economic value it creates for people who live in Illinois and for society as a whole. What does this investment in Illinois's environment yield?Every dollar invested into the Illinois nonprofit environment field generates an estimated $58 in socio-environmental-economic value.$45 of this socio-environmental-economic value accrues to the people of Illinois.$13 of this socio-environmental-economic value accrues to society through increased tax revenue, increased spending in the state due to environment sector jobs, and avoided spending to treat costly environmental problems.The real utility of an SROI lies in its ability to reveal if and how our investments into programs pay off. And on that, this SROI of the nonprofit environment field in Illinois is clear: investing in the environment yields dividends.

Human Services District Databook for 2015

March 10, 2015

Databook to accompany the human Services Legislative Fact Sheets for Illinois.

Creating Opportunity for Immigrant Women and Girls in the Chicago Region: Recommendations for the Chicago Foundation for Women's Civic Plan

February 24, 2015

Division sought to understand what economic, health, and violence-related issues are most pressing for immigrant women in the Chicago region, their families, and their communities. These findings are the result of a research and information gathering process with Chicago-area immigrant women, social service providers who work with immigrant communities, a literature review on related topics, and a scan of change efforts in other states and localities related to issues impacting immigrant women and their families. This report documents the key issues facing immigrant women in the Chicago region and prioritizes those concerns into actionable micro- and systems-level recommended change efforts. The Chicago Foundation for Women is building the concerns of immigrant women into their Civic Plan, and other community organizations and advocates can learn from the voices of impacted women themselves to ensure their efforts are aligned with the true needs and desires of the community.

Poor by Comparison: Report on Illinois Poverty

January 29, 2015

A report that examines how Illinois compares to other states on over 25 key metrics associated with poverty and hardship. In addition to addressing the state budget's structural deficit and tax policy, the report offers additional recommendations that, if implemented, would help ensure the people of Illinois can live the best lives possible and make Illinois more competitive in the process.

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