LISC Research and Assessment aims to support revitalization of lower-income communities by conducting or commissioning research on the effectiveness and impacts of community and economic development policies, strategies and programs. In addition to studies on special topics of national concern, Research and Assessment directly supports development and implementation of community revitalization efforts though evaluation of LISC national and local programs. Much of the strength of LISC research rests upon its links to program staff in 30 urban offices and many other rural locations.
Recent advances in impact analysis and newly available data on the social and economic characteristics of neighborhoods open up new ways to understand how communities influence the life prospects of poor families, as well as the value of public and private efforts to strengthen communities. LISC Research and Assessment staff explore these opportunities through both in-house and consultant analyses, with a special concentration on the impacts of community and economic development policies and programs.
National and local LISC programs often engage in community development research — as sponsors, advisors, or consumers — but few have their own research capacity. Research and Assessment helps staff participate effectively in research, helping them convene local program practitioners and researchers to design research, collect data, adopt suitable analysis strategies, and recommend the appropriate policies and programs. Research and Assessment also carries out its own evaluations of LISC programs.
Research and Assessment has accumulated a set of analytical assets to support its research, including an extensive array of nationally available data on neighborhood economic and social conditions, Federal housing and community development programs, and nonprofit organizations, LISC management information on its own and partners’ investments in community development programs and projects, and GIS, statistical analysis, and other data management software.