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We call homelessness a crisis in Los Angeles because we increasingly see the homeless in our midst every day. Yet, the invisible crisis has been with us for years, affecting even many UCLA students and staff. New Los Angeles City and County initiatives promise to meet the challenge of homelessness head on, but success will depend on the quality of evidence and information informing these investments. We believe UCLA can and should play a role in this effort, and that begins with learning more about the crisis and the response, and laying out a research agenda.

To galvanize transdisciplinary research and engage our campus with efforts across LA County, UCLA will host Professor Dennis Culhane of the University of Pennsylvania from May 21 – 24, 2018.  One of the nation’s most influential homelessness scholars, Professor Culhane pioneered the use of homeless management information systems (HMIS) and integrated data systems to study homelessness, and generated much of the evidence base that led to permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing policies. Professor Culhane will lead a week-long series of activities to help focus UCLA’s research and student communities on one the most pressing humanitarian crises facing our city.

The homelessness week is supported by a grant from the Office for Interdisciplinary and Cross Campus Affairs and co-sponsored by the Fielding School of Public Health, California Center for Population Research, and the California Policy Lab. Organized by Professors Randall Kuhn (Community Health Sciences) and Till von Wachter (Economics) the week includes four major events also described on the event website.

First, the week will kick off with a public lecture by Professor Culhane on “Meeting the Challenge of Homelessness” on May 21st. The lecture will be opened by Dean Jody Heymann from the Fielding School of Public Health. In this lecture, Culhane will review the national situation, including progress and continued hurdles. He will also describe unique challenges for cities like LA, where many homeless are unsheltered.

The second event is a roundtable discussion on the “Homelessness Research Agenda in LA and Beyond” on May 22nd.  For students, faculty, researchers, and others interested in having a direct impact on homelessness, this Roundtable will describe current City and County research priorities and unmet needs, and will highlight areas for UCLA contribution. The roundtable will be introduced by Dean Gary Segura from the Luskin School of Public Policy, and includes Molly Rysman, Deputy for Homelessness for the Third Supervisory District of the County, who will talk about the County’s research needs on homelessness; Janey Rountree, Executive Director of the California Policy Lab, who will talk about the new Countywide Homelessness Research Policy Initiative; Michael Lens, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy; and Till von Wachter, Professor of Economics, who will talk about opportunities policy-oriented research on homelessness at UCLA.

On Wednesday, May 23rd, Professor Culhane will lead a seminar on “The Promise of Integrated Data Systems for Social Science Research.” Culhane will review the legal, ethical, scientific and economic challenges of interagency data sharing, as well as systematic efforts including policy reform and inter-agency collaboration to overcome these challenges. He will also review important new integrated data systems initiatives in LA County and California.

Finally, the week will conclude with a mini-conference on “Transdisciplinary Homelessness Research: Measure H and Beyond.” Topics include pathways into and out of homelessness over the life-course. Articulating new service delivery models and data collection, including mobile phones as a platform for outreach. The conference will also feature a round table on how to sustain the interdisciplinary conversation through a campus-wide research network, regular working groups, and joint research projects.

Schedule of Events of Homelessness Week

Public Lecture: Meeting the Challenge of Homelessness

Monday, May 21, 2018
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
UCLA NPI Auditorium CHS C8-183

Register

Roundtable: Homeless Research Agenda in L.A. and Beyond

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
UCLA Public Affairs Building, Rm. 4240
Social Mixer to follow: UCLA Public Affairs Building, Luskin Commons Patio 3rd Floor

Register

Seminar: The Promise of Integrated Data Systems for Social Science Research

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
UCLA Public Affairs Building, Rm. 4240

Conference: Transdisciplinary Homelessness Research: Measure H and Beyond

Thursday, May 24, 2018
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
UCLA Public Affairs Building, Rm. 4240

 

For more information about Homelessness Week, click HERE

For more information about the California Policy Lab (CPL), click HERE

For more information about the California Center for Population Research (CCPR), click HERE

May 15, 2018

Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez and Million Dollar Hoods will be honored by the Los Angeles Community Action Network with a Freedom Now Award for their groundbreaking digital mapping project that uses police data to monitor incarceration costs in Los Angeles. The 8th Annual “Freedom Now” Awards and Celebration will take place on June 16, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 838 E. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021.

For more details, click HERE

By Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, Project Director & Saba Waheed, Research Director

Black people are leaving Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Black Worker Center noticed the trend while doing community organizing work in the area and teamed up with the UCLA Labor Center to conduct a study. Together, they analyzed 2010-2014 data from the American Community Survey and found that employment conditions have a lot to do with it. While the Black community was once a thriving part of L.A.’s landscape and remains integral to the county’s cultural and economic life, they are in the throes of a bona fide jobs crisis – and concern for Black workers has only intensified in response to the new administration.

Here are some of the study’s findings:

  • Black people are significantly more educated than previous generations, yet experience a lower labor participation rate and a significantly higher unemployment rate than white workers
  • Black workers are underrepresented in growing industry sectors and professional jobs and have lower rates in manager and supervisory positions
  • Whether working full or part time, Black workers earn only 75% of what White workers earn (for Black women, the wage gap is even more severe)
  • The Black community’s share of the total population declined from 13% to 8%

Based on their research, the UCLA Labor Center, Los Angeles Black Worker Center and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment released the 2017 report Ready to Work, Uprooting Inequity: Black Workers in Los Angeles and a follow-up California study, as Black Angelenos still make up over one third of the state’s Black population. The report argues for the need to stabilize Black families and communities through community-driven public policy and corporate practice change that create good-paying, quality jobs accessible to Black workers.

Its release was also coupled with the launch of a local anti-discrimination enforcement campaign called #HealBlackFutures that would support policy efforts to respond to discrimination complaints (additional research supported this need for local enforcement).

As a leading global city, Los Angeles already has an important history of worker organizations and movements that have struggled to close the equity gap, increase the minimum wage, secure paid sick-days and provide a platform for worker voices. Since the release of this report, there has been an unprecedented display of Black working-class activism and mobilization in Los Angeles County.

In addition, the governor of California also directed the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to establish a civil rights advisory group composed of relevant state representatives, community advocates, employers and employees to study the feasibility of authorizing local governments to help enforce anti-discrimination statutes.

Studying Black workers in Los Angeles provides a helpful foundation off of which to both produce new research and develop policy initiatives addressing the state of U.S. labor in general. Evaluating the feasibility and clarifying the steps that local authorities are taking to remedy civil rights violations will be critical in curbing unfair treatment at work both in Los Angeles and on a larger scale.

The Los Angeles Black Worker Center is a grassroots action center in South Central Los Angeles dedicated to expanding access to quality jobs, addressing employment discrimination and improving jobs that employ Black workers. The Center’s vision is to build a world where Black workers thrive in an equitable economy that sustains family and community. For more than 50 years, the UCLA Labor Center has created innovative programs that offer a range of educational, research and public service activities within the university and in the broader community, especially among low-wage and immigrant workers.

 

milliondollarhoods.org

By Kelly Lytle Hernandez

Professor of History and African-American Studies

Los Angeles County operates the largest jail system on Earth. At a cost of nearly $1 billion annually, more than 20,000 people are caged every night in county jails and city lockups. Conventional wisdom says that incarceration advances public safety by removing violent and serious offenders from the streets – but the data shows that isn’t necessarily true.

According to Million Dollar Hoods (MDH), a digital mapping project that uses police data to monitor incarceration costs in Los Angeles, not all neighborhoods are equally impacted by L.A.’s massive jail system. In fact, L.A.’s nearly billion-dollar jail budget is largely committed to incarcerating many people from just a few neighborhoods, in some of which more than $1 million is spent annually on incarceration. Leading causes of arrest in these areas are primarily drug possession and DUIs, and the majority of those arrested are black, brown and poor.

The bottom line: the data shows that local authorities are investing millions in locking up the county’s most economically vulnerable, geographically isolated and racially marginalized populations for drug and alcohol-related crimes. These are L.A.’s “Million Dollar Hoods.” Maybe they deserve more.

Additional information on “Million Dollar Hoods” (MDH):

Launched in summer 2016, MDH is an ongoing collaboration between UCLA researchers and local community-based organizations, including Youth Justice Coalition, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Dignity and Power Now, JusticeLA and more. Together, we conceptualized the project, acquired the data and mapped it, making a wealth of data broadly available to advocates and activists who are pressing local authorities to divest from police and jails and invest in the community-based services needed to build a more equitable community: namely health, housing, employment, and educational services. To date, the MDH maps and reports have received significant media coverage and are being marshaled by advocates to advance a variety of justice reinvestment campaigns.  Our research on cannabis enforcement shaped the development of the city’s social equity program. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty references our research in his report on the criminalization of homelessness in America. Our report on the money bail system was the first to document how the money bail system amounts to asset stripping in Black and Latino Los Angeles.

Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez (History/African American Studies) leads the Million Dollar Hoods project. Her research team is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of UCLA staff and students, including Danielle Dupuy (School of Public Health), Terry Allen (Graduate School of Education), Isaac Bryan (Luskin School of Public Policy), Jamil Cineus (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Marcelo Clarke (African American Studies/Sociology), Chibumkem Ezenekwe, Luz Flores (African American Studies), Oceana Gilliam (Luskin School of Public Policy), Harold Grigsby (African American Studies), Andrew Guerrero (International Development Studies), Sofia Espinoza (Luskin School of Public Policy), Yoh Kawano (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Albert Kochaphum (Institute for Digital Research and Education), Ricardo Patlan (Political Science),  Alvin Teng (Luskin School of Public Policy), Taylore Thomas (African American Studies), and Estefania Zavala (Luskin School of Public Policy).

 

Related post: Million Dollar Hoods Goes to Sacramento