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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Featured

Poverty, Income & Health Insurance Update: Illinois and Chicago Region

September 17, 2020

Poverty rates and household incomes improved in Illinois in 2019. However, this data reflects conditions from the last year before a global pandemic and related recession--meaning the picture is likely much worse today. And even before the 2020 recession, millions of Illinoisans--especially people of color--lived in poverty or on the brink.The poverty rate for the United States was 10.5% in 2019, a decline of 1.3 percentage points from 2018 and the lowest on record. There were 34 million people in poverty nationwide. In 2019, 1.4 million Illinoisans were in poverty--a rate of 11.5%. Additionally, 1.9 million Illinoisans are near poor and economically insecure with incomes between 100% and 199% of the federal poverty threshold.The data also revealed that health insurance coverage rates declined in Illinois and throughout the nation in 2019, continuing a disturbing trend of eroding the gains of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), right before a global pandemic and economic recession hit.

Healthcare; Poverty
Featured

The Gender Disadvantage: Why Inequity Persists

March 13, 2019

Poverty does not treat everyone equally. Women, children, gender minorities, and people of color are often the hardest hit. And while women in poverty experience the same issues that all people in poverty experience—income inequality, unemployment, poor health, violence, trauma, and more—the odds are often uniquely stacked against them in gendered ways.There are 6.5 million women. and an estimated 50,000 trans people living in Illinois. They are a driving force in our economy and care for our children, sick, and elderly, and yet continue to face discrimination and inequitable opportunities. This year's annual report on poverty in Illinois shows how gender, gender identity, and gender norms shape experiences of poverty for women and gender minorities—and how women who have other marginalized identities experience even more inequity. If we want to dramatically reduce poverty, improving the well-being of women— particularly women of color—would deliver the biggest return.

Asset Building & Financial Security; Poverty
Featured

The 2018 Illinois Poverty Update

April 19, 2018

Heartland Alliance's Illinois Poverty Update indicates that millions of people in Illinois are experiencing poverty or are on the cusp. Rooted in inequity, poverty prevents people from meeting basic needs, improving their quality of life, and creates barriers to opportunities including quality education, stable employment, affordable housing and safe neighborhoods. The update sheds light on who is most likely to experience poverty in Illinois: Women, people of color, and children have the highest poverty rates.In addition to the Illinois Poverty Update, Heartland Alliance also released state legislative district poverty fact sheets.These releases are the first of a series Heartland Alliance is publishing on poverty in Illinois this year. Local- and county-level data books will be published this summer, and an in-depth exploration of the forces that contribute to gender-based poverty inequity will be released in the fall. 

Poverty

Integrated Care in a Fast- Changing and Slow-Moving Environment: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Health Neighborhood Project

July 23, 2020

Health Neighborhood, a pilot project within Heartland Alliance Health (HAH), intended to create a population-based approach of improving integrated care among people with experiences of homelessness, who were housed in permanent supportive housing (PSH). The program was built on through intensive partnerships between HAH and five Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) providers: Chicago House, North Side Housing and Supportive Services, Deborah's Place, Housing Opportunities for Women, and Heartland Human Care Services (HHCS). The program was implemented from 2016 – 2019, and served 46 participants.

Healthcare; Poverty; Safety Net & Human Services

Motivational Interviewing: HIV-Related Health Outcomes and Social Determinants of Health

January 14, 2020

For individuals experiencing housing insecurity—and other hardships associated with poverty, such as low rates of health literacy, food insecurity, lack of transportation, and restricted access to quality health care—an HIV diagnosis exacerbates an already burdened quality of life. These larger structural barriers may inhibit HIV+ participants from feeling able to change individual-level behaviors which may complicate their HIV status. One counseling intervention that addresses obstacles to change is Motivational Interviewing (MI). MI is a collaborative, client centered approach that fosters communication between a service provider and their recipient with the goal of identifying and resolving the change goals identified during the counseling session. Studies on healthcare outcomes for chronically ill individuals who received MI interventions indicate that, when followed properly, MI can effect long-term, positive behavior changes. This paper defines MI, explores it's applications among HIV+ participants, describes an MI fidelity monitoring tool, and situates MI relevance while acknowledging the influence of social determinants of health.

Healthcare; Poverty

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

Building Brighter Futures: Children's Savings Accounts in Illinois

August 22, 2017

In 2009, the Illinois General Assembly created a bipartisan task force to explore a CSA program in the state. The task force recommended that a savings account should be opened automatically at birth for every child born in Illinois, using the Bright Start Direct College Savings Program as the savings vehicle.This report examines what it will take to make these recommendations a reality. To better understand the Bright Start program and how to make it an effective savings tool for all families, we look at how Illinoisans are currently using Bright Start, and explore the challenges low-income families and families of color face in using Bright Start to save for college. We also examine how a CSA program could impact the racial wealth gap in Illinois. Finally, we make policy recommendations for the design and implementation of a CSA program to help Illinois families save for higher education.

Asset Building & Financial Security; Education; Poverty

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

Data Matters: Who'd Get the Raise to $10 in Illinois?

October 6, 2014

Elections are coming in November, and one hot election issues is raising the minimum wage. Illinois voters will see a ballot initiative that asks about increasing the minimum wage from Illinois's current $8.25 an hour to $10 an hour. We got to wondering, if Illinois raised the minimum wage to $10 an hour starting January 1, 2015, who exactly would get a raise? We turned to the Economic Policy Institute for help crunching the numbers, and this Data Matters explores what we learned about who would become a "raised worker."

Asset Building & Financial Security; Employment; Poverty

Factsheet: Poverty in Illinois

September 18, 2014

This factsheet provides a snapshot of the most recent census data on poverty, extreme poverty, low-income rates, child poverty, health insurance coverage, and median household income for Illinois, Chicago, and the 6-County region with and without Chicago.

Healthcare; Poverty

Data Matters: How Cool Are Seniors in Your Neighborhood?

August 13, 2014

Temperatures in Chicago can reach dangerous levels in the summertime. The Social IMPACT Research Center took a look at the availability of public cooling centers in relation to senior poverty rates throughout the city, to examine what the options are for poor seniors who may be more susceptible to the negative effects of severe heat.

Poverty

A Strategic Plan Forward to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County

July 22, 2014

The Social IMPACT Research Center led a dynamic planning process with The Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County to help them create an updated strategic plan that will guide their work to end homelessness. A Strategic Plan Forward to End Homelessness is the culmination of that process. The plan embodies strategic thinking around targeting resources to those most in need and likely to benefit through coordinated assessment, written standards, and prioritization of resources. It integrates and promotes best practices across housing and service interventions. It identifies new partners, in new areas, to help seize critical opportunities and to leverage more support for the homeless system. It includes a new unmet need calculation and data dashboard to support ongoing data-informed decision-making. This plan, and the work to come from it, will position suburban Cook County to meet the HEARTH Act performance measures, end chronic homelessness, and work towards its ultimate goal of ending homelessness for all.

Housing & Homelessness; Poverty

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