Illustration of a woman wading a kayak through four block-like numbers: 2021, on a blue background.
Illustration of a woman wading a kayak through four block-like numbers: 2021, on a blue background.

It’s been an uncomfortable year. Like everyone else, our team has been humbled, challenged, and galvanized by the events of 2020. A global pandemic, increased economic insecurity for the New Yorkers we work for, the Black Lives Matter Movement’s continued rise, and a decisive US election.

Our team took a few moments to reflect on how this year has impacted our design practices and what we hope to hone in 2021. Looking back, we’ve experienced themes of painful instability, personal reflection, and renewed drive towards grounding. …


Meet Product Design Fellow: Tina Qi!

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Hi! I am joining the Service Design Studio at NYC Opportunity as a Product Design Fellow. I am extremely excited about this opportunity of crafting digital solutions for NYC residents and government agencies.

3 years ago, I came to NYC from Beijing, China to attend the MFA Transdisciplinary Design program at Parsons School of Design. I got obsessed with participatory design methods and design research while studying at Parsons, through working closely with community organizations and nonprofits. After graduation, I worked as a freelance designer and did an internship at the strategy team of the Brooklyn Public Library.

I began a few side hustles during the pandemic: doing volunteer design work for a community organization, partnering with a friend on creating a space making + healing project and writing articles about future trends. Currently thinking of beginning my own blog to introduce various practices in the intersection of design and social good to design students in China. …


Group of people waving American flag after passing citizenship test
Group of people waving American flag after passing citizenship test
NYCitizenship

There were over 620,000 lawful permanent residents of New York City who were eligible to become citizens, as of 2019. Almost two-thirds of lawful permanent residents are in the labor force, but they earn significantly less than citizens (native-born or naturalized) and 27% currently live in poverty (compared to 18% of United States-born citizens) in New York City. Increasing immigrants’ access to citizenship is a key strategy for fighting poverty, especially when paired with financial counseling and other supports intended to enhance the economic benefits that accrue from naturalization.

About NYCitizenship

In 2016, NYCitizenship was established by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). MOIA works in partnership with NYC’s Human Resources Administration (DSS/HRA) and the public library system to help immigrant New Yorkers complete the naturalization process. NYCitizenship provides free legal services, financial counseling, and legal representation to eligible lawful permanent residents who have not yet applied for citizenship. In 2017, with support from the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity), the program incorporated the Community Navigators model, which expanded the capacity of NYCitizenship legal teams. Community Navigators are highly qualified paralegals with linguistic fluency that interface directly with clients, support the completion of naturalization applications, and maintain ongoing oversight of open cases. NYC Opportunity continues to monitor performance metrics for this program. …


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Apolitical: Agile 50

Apolitical, a London-based organization that works to promote effective government worldwide, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, has named NYC Opportunity’s executive director, Matt Klein, to its inaugural “Agile 50,” a list of “the World’s 50 Most Influential People Revolutionising Government.” He was one of four “Local Government Heroes” on the list.

The “Agile 50” list shines a spotlight on “politicians, civil servants and entrepreneurs driving agility in governments all around the world.” …


This is the third publication of the COVID Data Analysis series by NYC Opportunity’s Poverty Research Team. This series will explore the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Data to help assess COVID-19’s impact as the pandemic evolves.

Text of “CoVID-19” on top of shapes in red and white
Text of “CoVID-19” on top of shapes in red and white
Unsplash: Martin Sanchez

With stubbornly high levels of unemployment and widespread pay cuts in the region, New York City faces an unprecedented housing crisis. NYC Opportunity’s analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse data finds that many New Yorkers are facing housing insecurity and amassing millions, if not billions, of dollars in rent due. The current freeze on evictions expires in January 2021. Without further support measures, renters in particular will face severe debt levels and evictions.

Persistent Housing Insecurity


By Ideas42

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Unsplash: Brandon Jacoby

Local government agencies directly impact millions of people’s day-to-day lives, providing essential public services that keep our cities running. Yet we know from behavioral science — the study of how people make decisions and take action in the real world — that there are many reasons programs and services don’t reach as wide or diverse of a population as they could. Sometimes programs require regular renewal and complicated applications that compete for people’s scarce time and resources, or people may believe a program is not meant for them. …


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Save for College Program

Higher education has long been recognized as one of the most powerful vehicles for upward economic mobility. College graduates in New York City have lower rates of unemployment, and higher lifetime earnings, than non-college graduates, among other positive outcomes. Yet post-secondary tuition has risen dramatically over the past few decades, amidst a substantial racial wealth gap. These increasing educational costs fall largely on students and their families, with Black young adults and other youth of color taking on substantially more debt than their white counterparts. …


This is the second publication of the COVID Data Analysis series by NYC Opportunity’s Poverty Research Team. This series will explore the US Census Bureau’s Pulse Data to help assess COVID-19’s impact as the pandemic evolves.

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Unsplash: Martin Sanchez

As the economy remains weak due to the COVID-19 crisis, and the City works toward an equitable recovery, COVID shocks are proving to be particularly challenging for women. Although the devastating labor market impact of the pandemic did not at first seem to hit women harder than men in the New York City region, NYC Opportunity’s analysis of COVID data finds that the possibility of a “shecession” and “hecovery” are very real.

Job Loss Due to Decline in Business Conditions


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ACCESS NYC, the City’s “front door” to public benefits for New Yorkers and a product in the portfolio of the NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) was recognized by the Center for Digital Government and received an award for Government Experience in the national category of “Project Experience” on September 24, 2020.

The awards recognize the achievements and best practices of states, cities, and counties that are radically improving the experience of government and pushing the boundaries of how citizen services are delivered.

“Our state and local government winners this year demonstrated that focusing on the government experience provides a foundation that played a vital role in responding and adapting to the uncertainties and disruptions of 2020,” said Dustin Haisler, chief innovation officer for the Center for Digital Government. “This year’s winners employed innovative methods and technologies to transform their government experiences, including leveraging citizen-centric platforms such as Mississippi’s myMS; employing AI to perform sentiment analysis on chatbots; and infusing digital services enterprise-wide for both internal and citizen-facing services.” …


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About New York City’s Pretrial Supervised Release Program

In 2016, New York City rolled out a city-wide program known as the pretrial Supervised Release program, a promising criminal justice intervention intended to reduce the inequitable effects of the money bail system while maintaining high court appearance rates and low rearrest rates.

Supervised Release offers judges the option of releasing defendants to their communities as they await trial in lieu of setting bail. Defendants released to Supervised Release are required to regularly check in with program staff and receive support services designed to eliminate barriers to attending court appearances and prevent re-arrest, such as court date reminders and access to social workers and social services. The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) engaged three organizations to provide pretrial release supervision: the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services, the Center for Court Innovation, and the New York City Criminal Justice Agency. …

About

NYC Opportunity

NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity

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