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"PRRAC Awards 12 New Research Grants"

March 1992 issue of Poverty & Race

At its October 7 meeting, the PRRAC Board approved 12 new research grants, on the recommendation of the Board's Research Review Committee:
The Food Research and Action Center will expand its Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project (CCHIP) to examine the relationship between hunger and poverty. The standard CCHIP survey instrument (used in seven states to date) will be modified to help redefine the federal poverty line and advocate for changes in the Food Stamp program that will produce higher benefits for poor people. Columbus and a rural Ohio site will be the focus for this research.
Grant amount: $10,000.
pft Contact: Cheryl Wehler, FRAC, 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, #540, Washington, DC 20009; (202) 986-2200; (508) 872-4448.
La Cooperativa Campesina de California is challenging the 1990 Census enumeration, via administrative advocacy and litigation, regarding the undercounting of farmworkers. Due to seasonality and imprecise categorization, such workers may be undercounted by as much as half. Race, language, education level, family living patterns, immigration status and crowded housing interact to produce this undercount, which results in underfunding of various farmworker housing, health, education and employment programs. PRRAC's funds will support technical work to demonstrate the undercount. La Cooperativa is working with Calif. Rural Legal Assistance in developing the litigation component.
Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: George Ortiz, La Cooperativa Campesina de California, 2222 N Street, Sacramento, CA 9581; (916) 442-4791.
Richard LeGates, a lawyer/planner on the San Francisco State University faculty, and UCLA lawyer/planner Allan Heskin will undertake research related to a pending state legislative proposal (SB 270) that would require tenants to deposit 20 days rent with the court as a condition of asserting any defense against eviction actions. A study by landlord groups claimed that at least $270 million a year is lost by landlords while tenants fight eviction, and that landlords win the overwhelming majority of such cases. LeGates' and Heskin's research, which will challenge those conclusions and offer the perspective of tenants and the society as a whole on the matter of fighting eviction actions, will be used by a coalition of advocacy groups seeking to defeat this legislation.
Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Prof. Richard LeGates,
Urban Studies Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway, San Francisco, CA 94132; (415) 338-6176.
John Brittain, is part of a litigation team -- which includes the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Connecticut ACLU, the Hispanic Advocacy Project, and Wesley Horton (attorney in the Horton v. Meskill Connecticut school financing case) -- that has brought a state constitutional challenge to de facto racial, linguistic and economic segregation in the Hartford school system (Sheff v. O'Neil). Funding will be used to hire a locally-based educational consultant to coordinate the work of the social science expert witnesses assisting in the case.
Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Prof. John Brittain, University of Connecticut School of Law, 65 Elizabeth St., Hartford, CT 06105-2290; (203) 241-4664.
The New Haven Legal Assistance Association, along with the Connecticut ACLU, has filed a public housing desegregation suit against HUD, the city of New Haven, and the New Haven Housing Authority. At issue is the city's failure to replace 366 units of demolished high-rise public housing. Yale Rabin will conduct studies evaluating the segregative impact of past city and federal actions and examining proposed sites for replacement housing.
Grant amount: $5,000.
Contact: Glenn Falk, New Haven Legal Assistance Assn, 426 State St., New Haven, CT 06510-2018; (203) 777-4811; Yale Rabin, 9 Farrar St., Cambridge, MA 02138; (617) 661-0037.
Richard Rothstein will undertake research to define an "acceptable" minimum wage for developing nations seeking trade preferences in the US market. The research will be used to support a lawsuit brought by the International Labor Rights Education and Research Fund against the government for failure to implement the workers' rights provision of the Generalized System of Preferences Act (the so-called Pease Amendments, which require denial of tariff waivers to nations that are not taking steps to implement guarantees of internationally recognized workers' rights). Other advocacy work the research will support includes strengthening the Pease Amendments and petitions the ILRERF wants to file with the US Trade Representative alleging that products exported to the US are being manufactured under unacceptable conditions of work with regard to minimum wages. This work has as one clear focus protection of low-income and minority workers in the US whose wage levels and living standards are being undermined via exploitation of foreign workers by US and multinational corporations.
Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Richard Rothstein, 8036 Elden Ave. Whither, CA 90602; (310) 945-8950
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is seeking to document patterns of employer discrimination against immigrant minority workers, due to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. A network of 8-9 local immigrant projects (in NYC, SF, LA, Houston, Newark, Chicago, Miami, San Jose) will carry out local documentation, via interviews with about 500 employers. The Network will coordinate and integrate these local research efforts and use them to develop links with the civil rights and labor movements and women's groups, as part of general public education and efforts to have Congress repeal IRCA.
Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Cathi Tactaquin, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, 995 Market St., Suite 1108, San Francisco, CA 94103; (415)243-8215
Saint Mark's Head Start Center, which works closely with ACORN, is attempting to organize parents around issues of school equity and improvement and parent involvement in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. Parents will undertake research on local school programs and deficiencies, focussing additionally on improper zone assignments that impact children and parents negatively.
Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Marie CumberbatchlCate Poe, St. Mark's Head Start Center, 2017 Beverly Rd., Brooklyn, NY 11226; (718) 287-7300.
The Poverty Law Center/Orange County Health Organizing and Action Project, will identify patients who have experienced barriers to health care access, in violation of California's Indigent Medical Services program. OCHOAP has worked on the access issue for many years, via: 1) access-oriented research and policy analysis (undertaken large by a group of physicians at UC-Irvine Medical School, led by Howard Waitzkin); 2) direct-action organizing and advocacy; 3) legal action, coordinated by the Poverty Law Center. A class action is planned against the county on behalf of poor persons eligible for IMS who are not receiving benefits.
Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Dr. Howard Waitzkin, North Orange County Community Clinic, 300 W. Romneya Dr., Anaheim, CA 92801;(714)774-9831.
PrairieFire, an organization that effectively fought against farm foreclosures during the 1980s, is now working on the issue of exploitation of minority workers being recruited (largely from the Southwest) to work in meatpacking plants in Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. Research will focus on recruitment and hiring practices, violation of state and federal workers' rights laws, and the impact of these new minority workers on rural communities. The research will support a range of advocacy/organizing strategies, including community and worker education arrttl training, community organizing, coalition development, and new public policy initiatives. The initial focus will be on Iowa.
Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Rev. David Ostendorf, PrairieFire, 550 Eleventh St., Des Moines, IA 50309; (515) 244-5671.
The Sentencing Project will undertake a comparative study of how the legal system treats drug offenses and alcohol-related driving (DWI) offenses, and the race and class implications of this disparity. Similar to its recent reports on comparative international incarceration rates and on young African-American males in college compared with how many are in prison, on parole or awaiting sentencing, the project will undertake a public education campaign and work for public policy initiatives based on its research work. Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Marc MauerlMalcolm Young, The Sentencing Project, 918 F St. NW, #501, Washington, DC 20004; (202) 628-0871.
The Student Advocacy Center will study four alternative models of parent involvement/outreach in low-income communities in Michigan, via participato-ry research. The results will be used to enhance SAC'S capacity to respond effective-to requests for help from community groups and to identify and reach out to communities where school problems are severe but the community has not coalesced. This project supports earlier and current work that led to enactment of legislation banning corporal punishment and introduction of progressive legislation to deal with the various problems of exclusion of students from school.
Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Ruth Zweifler, Student Advocacy Center, 617 E. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; (313) 995-0477.
[The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless received a small emergency grant to undertake a quick survey of homeless men turned away from two city shelters, with nearly 300 beds, closed by the DC government last summer as part of its budget cutbacks. The Clinic sought a temporary restraining order (unsuccessfully) and needed this survey to bolster its court pleadings. (At this writing, the recent DC cold spell has already led to at least five deaths among homeless street people.)]

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