Community Development Research Briefs

Research Briefs feature data and commentary on community development trends and issues.

  • Assessing the Durability of COVID-Era Capacity Gains Among Community-Based Organizations: Lessons from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program

    Elizabeth Kneebone

    To better understand the impact of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program’s conclusion on community-based organizations and on their scope and scale of work after ERAP, this brief draws on interviews conducted with practitioners involved with nearly two dozen ERA programs across the country. These interviews help shed light on how the dwindling and, in many cases, cessation of ERAP funds is affecting organizations’ capacity along multiple dimensions as they scale back, reorient, and move on post ERAP.

  • Understanding CDFI Financial Data: A Primer for New Investors

    Sarah Simms, Rocio Sanchez-Moyano

    Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are gaining broader recognition as effective conduits of capital to underserved communities, but their financial metrics can be challenging to evaluate for investors and grantmakers unfamiliar with the sector. This brief provides lessons learned from examining financial data from CDFI loan funds and shares suggestions for both the CDFI industry and investors new to the sector for how to improve understanding of CDFI financial metrics.

  • Recent Innovations in Reducing Home Energy Costs and Improving Resilience for Low- and Moderate-Income Renters and Homeowners

    Sarah Simms, Elizabeth Mattiuzzi

    Community Development (CD) practitioners across the western U.S. are engaging in new efforts to reduce energy costs and improve resilience for low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. New federal and state funding sources, as well as growing involvement from philanthropy and CRA-motivated investors, have prompted growth in energy cost savings and resilience (ECSR) options for LMI households. To help scale this work, CD practitioners are experimenting with partnerships that have led to innovations in lending, technical implementation of home retrofits, coordination across programs, consumer protection, workforce development, and technical assistance for CD practitioners.

  • Overwork Impacts on Low-Wage Workers: Insights from the Food Manufacturing Sector in Oregon and Washington

    Lola Loustaunau, University of Wisconsin Madison School for Workers; Lina Stepick, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI); and Elizabeth Kneebone, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

    Overwork stems from practices that can limit the ability of workers to get adequate rest and can heighten the bodily and emotional hazards that workers experience. Through analysis of 75 interviews with food processing workers, managers, and other stakeholders, this brief identifies the following forms of unstable scheduling practices that constitute overwork: long work days of over eight hours/day; long work weeks of over 40 hours/week and/or over five days/week; long stretches of over seven days without days off; and lack of sufficient breaks during shifts.

  • Recent Findings on Residential Instability in Oakland

    Jackelyn Hwang, Stanford University; Vasudha Kumar, Stanford University; Elizabeth Kneebone, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

    This report draws from a unique, longitudinal dataset to examine residential instability–in the form of moving and household crowding–in Oakland, California in the last 20 years, with an additional focus on patterns emerging during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors find that lower credit score residents saw sharp increases in rates of moving out in recent years and also experienced rising levels of transitions to crowded housing conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents experiencing instability were generally concentrated in East Oakland and West Oakland neighborhoods–areas that are home to large populations of people of color.

  • Who Moved and Where Did They Go? An analysis of residential moving patterns in King County, WA between 2002–2017

    Jackelyn Hwang, Stanford University; Bina P. Shrimali, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; and the Public Health – Seattle & King County Assessment, Policy Development and Evaluation Unit

    This report describes residential moves by King County residents within the three-county Seattle metropolitan region in the Puget Sound from 2002 through 2017. Data from large individual-level data sets were analyzed for trends over 15 years to see how people in King County, Washington moved within the region, and compare trends by SES level and neighborhood/geography.

  • Shifting Hours: Unstable Work Scheduling Practices

    Lina Stepick, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

    This research brief reviews the current literature and data on unstable work scheduling practices. It outlines the prevalence of different employer-initiated unstable scheduling practices across industries, how they are inequitably distributed, their negative effects for low-wage workers and employers, and considerations for potential solutions.

  • Disruptions from Wildfire Smoke: Vulnerabilities in Local Economies and Disadvantaged Communities in the U.S.

    Brooke Lappe, Emory University and Jason Vargo, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

    Wildfires, which are increasing in frequency, duration, and intensity, are measurably affecting vulnerable populations, labor, housing, and education. This report describes how wildfire smoke disrupts various sectors of the economy across the United States.

  • “Bouncing Forward” from Disasters on Hawaiʻi’s Big Island: Lessons for Equitable Recovery and Future Resilience

    Elizabeth Mattiuzzi, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Beki McElvain, Univeristy of California, Berkeley

    Recovery planning and implementation on the island of Hawaiʻi following the Kīlauea eruption provides an example of equitable, forward-looking disaster preparation and resilience. This report explores the way planners and nonprofits used a regional equity approach to improving household and community resilience, broke down silos to have flexible funding from multiple sources ready for future disasters, and worked to build community through “resilience hubs” that provide disaster-related and ongoing services that help promote economic participation.

  • Residential Instability in the Bay Area through the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Jackelyn Hwang, Stanford University; Becky Liang, Stanford University; Vasudha Kumar, Stanford University; and Jason Vargo, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

    Drawing on a unique, longitudinal dataset of over 250,000 San Francisco Bay Area residents, this research brief examines residential instability—including moving, crowding, and financial health—in the Bay Area through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research finds a substantial decrease in moving for residents during the pandemic, particularly for residents of extremely low socioeconomic status. At the same time, we report a concerning rise in residents living in crowded conditions and experiencing declining credit scores.