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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Access to Secure Choice: Addressing the Barriers to Retirement Savings for Illinois Workers

November 28, 2017

Illinois is among the first states in the nation to pass retirement savings legislation in the form of Secure Choice. With the implementation of Secure Choice, workers in Illinois at qualifying businesses without access to an employment-based retirement plan will be automatically enrolled in a retirement savings program. An estimated 1.3 million Illinoisans who currently do not have access to workplace retirement plans will be potentially impacted by Secure Choice. As Illinois moves toward Secure Choice implementation, however, there are a number of key questions that should be answered to help ensure that the program is addressing barriers to participation, especially among low-income workers, women, immigrants, and workers of color. This research is aimed at better understanding these barriers.

Employment; Safety Net & Human Services

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

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

Connecting to Safety and Stability: Domestic Violence Needs Assessment of Chicago

July 18, 2017

Domestic violence is pervasive. Approximately 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States. It is estimated that more than 2 million Illinoisans have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence impacts individuals and communities throughout Chicago. A comprehensive assessment of the domestic violence response system, however, has not been conducted in Chicago since 2007. In light of changes in service capacity and practice over the past decade, as well as the protracted state budget crisis, a needs assessment serves to document the existing domestic violence response system and highlight gaps that need to be filled. To this end, Crown Family Philanthropies, Polk Bros. Foundation, and Michael Reese Health Trust came together and hired Heartland Alliance's Social IMPACT Research Center (IMPACT) to conduct a domestic violence needs assessment. To identify the scale of need for domestic violence services in Chicago, IMPACT partnered with local researchers and service providers to access, analyze, and present secondary data. The study also includes primary data collection and analysis to illustrate prevalence, survivor experience, service capacity, and outstanding needs.

Human Rights & Justice; Safety Net & Human Services

Michigan Earn and Learn: An Outcome & Implementation Evaluation of a Transitional Job and Training Program

April 30, 2014

While the Great Recession introduced unemployment and underemployment to the masses, its significant negative trends aggravated already declining rates of employment in Michigan, particularly among less-educated, young, male, and minority individuals, who were then also hit hardest by the recession. As the nation began to slowly recover after the recession, Michigan continued struggling to find an economic foothold.The State of Michigan, along with private funders, responded with the Michigan Earn and Learn program, with the goal of creating opportunities for people facing barriers to employment to pursue education and occupational training that could help them get ahead. This evaluation report of the Michigan Earn and Learn transitional jobs program was commissioned by The Joyce Foundation on behalf of the State of Michigan.

Asset Building & Financial Security; Education; Employment; Safety Net & Human Services

Poverty Matters: It's Now 50/50, Chicago Region Poverty Growth is a Suburban Story

September 5, 2013

Nationwide, the number of people in poverty in the suburbs has now surpassed the number of people in poverty in central cities. Cities have long been thought to be home to the most and worst poverty. However, in the past several decades, the suburbs have experienced the greatest growth in poverty. In this brief, the Social IMPACT Research Center examines the distribution of poverty in Chicago and the suburbs over two decades. The findings suggest that from 1990 to 2011, poverty grew much more in the suburbs than in Chicago, and consequently, poverty became more equally distributed between Chicago and the suburbs.

Education; Employment; Poverty; Safety Net & Human Services

New Veterans in Illinois: A Call to Action

December 1, 2012

This report looks at the unique needs of veterans in Illinois and the Chicago region who have returned to the U.S. since 2001. New veterans 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 resistance to seeking help. These veterans need to have sufficient supports available to them in order to prevent the long-term negative impacts that many previous veteran cohorts have suffered. This report provides a demographic snapshot of new veterans and explains what services they need.

Employment; Safety Net & Human Services

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

From Page to Stage to Screen and Beyond

November 7, 2012

A group of Chicago youth media organizations have embarked on an evaluation process with adult program alumni to assess the degree to which hands-on media production and dissemination contributes to developing productive, independent, and engaged citizens. This report sets the stage for the evaluation, which began in late 2012 and will run through 2013, highlighting the work of youth media organizations in Chicago and exploring six dimensions, or outcome areas, that youth media organizations work within: journalism skills, news/media literacy, civic engagement, career development, youth development, and youth expression.

Safety Net & Human Services

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