In a new study from Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight, behavioral science takes center stage, as researchers consider what motivates clients at LISC Financial Opportunity Centers and offer new ways to increase retention in the program so that more people have the chance to improve their financial outlook.
If police, community organizations, neighborhood residents, and businesses cooperate with one another to solve public safety problems, they can accomplish substantial and durable reductions in crime.This paper presents and analyzes three examples of successful, cooperative crime prevention efforts supported by LISC, finding as much as a 41 percent decline in crime incidents compared to what they would have been without the coordinated, multi-sector strategy.
Low-income people often find that poor credit scores, or no scores at all, prevent them from obtaining affordable consumer credit. Beginning in 2010, LISC, with the input of many of its partners–created and piloted a credit building loan product called Twin Accounts. In this paper, LISC researchers compare the outcomes of Twin Accounts borrowers with other, statistically-matched, clients of LISC-supported Financial Opportunity Centers who did not open such accounts to find out whether their scores, in fact, improved.
Policymakers and researchers generally agree that the most effective approaches to neighborhood stabilization are those keyed to market conditions. But despite this agreement, there are few tools available to do this kind of market diagnosis. To help remedy this deficit, LISC researchers have constructed a prototype index of market strength. This index holds considerable promise as a single and transparent market indicator that draws on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data, which are readily-obtainable and available at the neighborhood level. The index is comprised of separate indicators of mortgage transaction velocity for owner-occupants and investors, the percent of purchases by owners, the percentage of high cost loans, and median value of all neighborhoods‟ mortgages relative to those in all low-income neighborhoods area-wide.
An independent study has found that Financial Opportunity Center clients, who access a range of services, have more success meeting their financial goals than people in programs offering employment assistance alone. Their gains include landing and keeping a job, growing credit and increasing annual earnings. The research findings will help LISC refine and propel its financial stability work on behalf of low-income Americans.