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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Services to Trafficking Survivors in Illinois Targeted Communities

March 17, 2021

This report documents the implementation and participant outcomes of a partnership project intended to increase identification of and service provision to survivors of human trafficking by providing training and technical assistance to organizations in high-need areas in Illinois. Prior to the development of this partnership, anti-trafficking resources in Illinois had been concentrated in Chicago and the surrounding area. Other areas of the state, namely Peoria and Kankakee, had low levels of anti-trafficking resources and victim identification, despite high vulnerability factors for trafficking. 

Opciones Saludables: Outcome Evaluation of a Holistic Maternal Health Program

December 7, 2020

Opciones Saludables was a public health pilot program of Heartland Alliance, engagingmarginalized and hard-to-reach pregnant and parenting youth (PPY) at a critical tipping pointin their lives, along with their families, schools, and community organizations, in education andempowerment programming. The program aimed to reduce health disparities and increase thequality of life for young parents and their children now and in the future through direct service andsystems change.

New 2016 Poverty Data for Illinois & Chicago

September 14, 2017

This fact sheet presents the latest data on poverty, income, and health insurance for Illinois, Chicago, and the surrounding Chicago region counties. (For smaller counties outside the Chicago region, refer to www.ilpovertyreport.org).

Poverty; Safety Net & Human Services

Harvest Commons: Final Implementation and Outcome Evaluation Report

May 13, 2016

This report is the final outcome evaluation of Harvest Commons, a supportive housing program on the near west side of Chicago that offers an enhanced, health-focused model of supportive services. Along with typical services such as case management and employment support services, residents of Harvest Commons -- virtually all of whom had been homeless -- have the opportunity to participate in on-site urban farming, nutritional counseling, and cooking classes. Through surveying and interviewing staff and residents and analyzing program data, IMPACT learned that Harvest Commons has had a positive impact in many different areas of residents' lives. The enhanced, health-focused model appears to have led to more positive health outcomes, and the collaborative model of service provision has created both special opportunities and challenges in creating cohesive, seamless, and impactful programming for residents. Read more about the findings and IMPACT's recommendations in the full report.

Harvest Commons: Housing, Health, and Financial Security Under One Roof

July 1, 2015

In this report, IMPACT sets the stage for an evaluation of Harvest Commons, a supportive housing program that brings together Heartland Housing, Heartland Human Care Services, Heartland Health Outreach and St. Leonard's Ministries -- all in one building (with garden and chicken coop)! Through resident surveys, program data analysis, and staff interviews, we learned that living at Harvest Commons is making a significant, meaningful impact on residents' lives, especially in a few key areas: stability and safety, and health and wellness. Read more about the building, residents, services, and impacts of the program in the report.

Altgeld-Riverdale Consortium: Outcome Findings

March 1, 2015

Since 2013, IMPACT has been working with the Altgeld-Riverdale Consortium (ARC) to evaluate their impact on safety in the community. The ARC consists of a variety of community partners -- nonprofits, schools, service providers, and local leaders -- whose collective goals include improving and strengthening community safety, creating vehicles for consistent communication, and increasing utilization of community resources. In 2014, IMPACT documented the collaborative work and key accomplishments of the ARC in the Altgeld-Riverdale Consortium: Evaluation Findings report. In the second chapter of the evaluation, Altgeld-Riverdale Consortium: Outcome Findings, IMPACT dives into local crime data to investigate the ARC's impact on community safety. Read the reports to find out what we learned!

Trapped by Credit: Racial Disparities in Financial Well-Being and Opportunity in Illinois

February 24, 2014

This report examines an important aspect of economic racial disparity -- disparity in credit scores. The relationship between credit scores and minority presence illustrates a clear racial disparity in credit in Illinois. Though many related factors help to explain some variability in credit scores, even when controlling for them, racial differences in credit persist.Having a credit score is important for gaining access to things like education, better jobs, homeownership -- the very things that feed financial and social opportunity. While credit disparities exist in large measure due to the same historic policies that have limited access to broader financial opportunities for minorities, credit scores are particularly important to consider because they also impact individuals' future financial opportunities.In effect, credit scores can create a trap, one that minorities are more likely to fall into, thereby feeding the continued growth of income and wealth disparities.

Asset Building & Financial Security; Education; Housing & Homelessness

The Game of Credit: A High Stakes Game That Perpetuates the Racial Wealth Gap

February 24, 2014

Everyone deserves the opportunity to build a financially secure future for themselves and their families. Access to equal opportunities is the cornerstone of America's core values and is also a necessity to growing a healthy economy. Unfortunately, the reality is a far shot from that piece of the American dream. Income and wealth inequality are at levels that we have not seen since the Great Depression. The Great Recession further expanded an already growing racial wealth gap. Many families have little hope of upward mobility. In fact, day-to-day life is more expensive for those struggling to make ends meet due to unequal access to the tools we all need to build financially secure futures. This includes a basic checking & savings account, a retirement savings account, a college savings account, home and student loans with low interest rates, and a solid credit score that gives you access to these important loans. Many households of color have been denied access to these crucial financial tools needed to build credit and put them on a path to financial health. As this report will show, this inequity has led to a stark racial disparity in credit scores as well as related indicators, such as education level, student loan debt, employment, income, homeownership, and home loan debt. Fortunately, there are programs and policies that can help close the gap and therefore strengthen the economy, which are also outlined in this report.

Asset Building & Financial Security; Education; Employment; Housing & Homelessness; Poverty

New Veterans in Illinois: Brief 1, Background and Picture of Need of New Veterans

December 1, 2012

The newest cohort of veterans of the United States Armed Forces is a unique population with particular needs. They face a challenging context upon return: an economy with few job openings, systems of care that have grown accustomed to serving older and predominantly male veterans, and personal reluctance to seekhelp. The newest veterans-military service members who have been deployed in 2001 or later-may also suffer from mental and physical injuries that act as barriers to reintegration into civilian life. These veterans require sufficient supports in order to prevent the long-term negative impacts that many previous veteran cohorts have suffered. **This is the first in a series of four briefs that provide a snapshot of new and future veterans, their needs, and their service utilization in Illinois and the Chicago region.

Employment; Safety Net & Human Services

New Veterans in Illinois: Brief 3, Future Veterans

December 1, 2012

The newest cohort of veterans of the United States Armed Forces is a unique population with particular needs. They face a challenging context upon return: an economy with few job openings, systems of care that have grown accustomed to serving older and predominantly male veterans, and personal reluctance to seekhelp. The newest veterans-military service members who have been deployed in 2001 or later-may also suffer from mental and physical injuries that act as barriers to reintegration into civilian life. These veterans require sufficient supports in order to prevent the long-term negative impacts that many previous veteran cohorts have suffered. **This is the third in a series of four briefs that provide a snapshot of new and future veterans, their needs, and their service utilization in Illinois and the Chicago region.

Employment; Safety Net & Human Services

New Veterans in Illinois: Brief 4, Service Utilization

December 1, 2012

The newest cohort of veterans of the United States Armed Forces is a unique population with particular needs. They face a challenging context upon return: an economy with few job openings, systems of care that have grown accustomed to serving older and predominantly male veterans, and personal reluctance to seekhelp. The newest veterans-military service members who have been deployed in 2001 or later-may also suffer from mental and physical injuries that act as barriers to reintegration into civilian life. These veterans require sufficient supports in order to prevent the long-term negative impacts that many previous veteran cohorts have suffered. **This is the fourth in a series of four briefs that provide a snapshot of new and future veterans, their needs, and their service utilization in Illinois and the Chicago region.

Employment; Safety Net & Human Services

New Veterans in Illinois: Brief 2, New Veterans

December 1, 2012

This brief presents a picture of Illinois' new veterans, or individuals from Illinois who have served in themilitary since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in 2001. It uses data from the U.S.Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). According to the ACS, there are approximately76,000 a new veterans living in Illinois, and they make up about 8 percent of the total veteran populationin Illinois. Information on the personal characteristics, geographic location, employment and income,discharge status, and disability status of new veterans presented in this brief can help service providersunderstand the service needs of new veterans and facilitate their reintegration to civilian life.

Safety Net & Human Services

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