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"PRRAC Awards 16 New Research Grants"

July 1992 issue of Poverty & Race

At its June 9th meeting, the PRRAC Board approved these 16 new research grants, on the recommendation of its Research Review Committee:

The Seattle Displacement Coalition will examine the workings of the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit in the State of Washington, to determine whether it is truly aiding low-income households and people of color. A large sample of LIHTC projects will be studied to test observations from a preliminary survey: that rents in "low-income" units are above average market rents; that few developers undertake affirmative marketing; that the State Housing Finance Committee does little monitoring; that few project sponsors offer low-income set-aside units to families holding Sec. 8 certificates; that excessive entry charges (application and credit check fees, damage deposits, etc.) effectively limit access to low-income units. Advocacy work will be pursued with the legislature's Housing Committee, the State Housing Finance Commission and Dept. of Community Development and the Congress.
[F214] Grant amount: $9500.
Contact: John Fox, Seattle Displacement Coal., 4759 15th NE, Seattle, WA 98105; (206) 523-2569.


Greater Boston Legal Services will undertake research relating to the new Family Reunification Program of the 1990 Housing Act, which provides Sec. 8 subsidies to families when lack of adequate housing is the primary reason they are at risk of losing their children to foster care or when a child is stuck in foster care because the family does not have housing -- a situation that disproportionately impacts minority families. Massachusetts is one of 11 states specified in the Conference Committee report to receive money under this national demonstration program. The research is designed to show that poor minority families are having their children taken away at disproportionately higher rates because they lack adequate housing; and to counter federal and state government claims that drug abuse, not housing shortage, is responsible for the increase in tester care placements. Leonard Bloksberg of the BU School of Social Work will direct the research. Advocacy goals are similar to the CDF et al. project described below.
[F205] Grant amount: $9500.
Contact: Dan Manning, Greater Boston Legal Services, 68 Essex St., Boston, MA 02111; (617) 357-5757.


The Children's Defense Fund -- in a project parallel to the GBLS project described above -- will stimulate research and data collection (by advocates, public officials, etc.) on the links between availability of housing assistance and unnecessary foster care placements; and in the process of developing materials on the new Family Reunification Program and stimulating this research will foster cooperative working relations between child welfare advocates and housing officials at the state and local levels, enabling the child welfare community to become strong advocates for housing assistance. The Child Welfare League of America and the American Public Welfare Assn. are cooperating with CDF in this project. An advocacy goal of the project is to convince Congress to turn the Program into the nation's first low-income housing entitlement program.
[F202] Grant amount: $9500.
Contact: Lisa Mihaly, CDF, 25 E St. NW., Wash., DC 20001; (202) 628-8787.


La Mujer Obrera, a membership organization of 900+ immigrant women garment workers in El Paso, will research the impact of the pending No. American Free Trade Agreement on working conditions of their members, focussing on human, civil and labor rights issues. Faculty at the Univ. of Texas-El Paso will assist in the research design and analysis. Information will be used in community education and organizing efforts. (This project will possibly be tied to PRRAC's pending garment workers' proposals from Oakland, New York City and Los Angeles). [F210] Grant amount: To be determined.
Contact: Carmen Dominguez, c/o Centro Obrero, PO Box 3975, El Paso, 7X 79923; (915) 533-9710.


Greater Boston Legal Services' Homelessness Unit is planning to undertake litigation against HUD and the Mass. Exec. Office of Communities & Development, which administers 1/4 of the Sec. 8 existing housing certificates in the state. The administrative arrangement in Mass. (which likely exists in other states as well) structurally disadvantages homeless families (a disproportionate number of whom are minorities), requiring them to wait far longer for subsidies than do non-homeless applicants. The research will examine the data sources HUD used to establish allocation sub-areas within the state; the amount of funds available in each allocation area; and the existence of data which could have better shown relative housing need within the state. William Apgar of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies will assist in the research.
[F205] Grant amount: To be determined.
Contact: Barbara Sard or Mac McCreight, Greater Boston Legal Services, 68 Essex St., Boston, MA 02111; (617) 357-5757x3997.


The National Housing Institute, as part of its political education/organizing campaign around the regressive realities of the homeowner tax deduction ("The Mansion Subsidy"), will develop data on the racial aspects of the deduction -- how this tax system feature disadvantages minorities -- and will develop an alternative taxation proposal to foster homeownership among minorities.
[F213] Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Patrick Morrissy, National Housing Inst., 439 Main St., Orange, NJ 07050; (201) 678-3110.


Legal Aid of Western Missouri, building on data collected in the discovery process for a public housing racial discrimination lawsuit, will research similar patterns of discrimination in Kansas City's federally-subsidized, privately-owned projects. Yale Rabin will carry out the research. Should such practices be documented, a parallel lawsuit will be filed, the first such litigation in this area.
[F211] Grant amount: $9,500.
Contact: Richard HaliburtonlJulie Le-vin, Legal Aid of W. MO, 600 Lathrop Bldg., 1005 Grand Ave., Kansas City, MO 64106-2216; (816) 474-6750.


Robert Koulish, with the Mid-Valley Community Center of Weslaco, Texas, will continue research he began while on the Univ. of Texas-Pan American faculty, documenting illegal, repressive and abusive behavior by the US Border Patrol with respect to both "illegal aliens" and residents of Chicano communities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley border areas. In conjunction with the American Friends Service Committee's Immigration Law Enforcement Monitoring Project, the Texas Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (LA), a legal challenge and legislative remedies will be pursued.
[F216] Grant amount: $9,500.
Contact: Robert Koulish, Political Science Dept., Univ. Wisconsin, 110 North Hall, Madison, WI 53706; (608) 251-0643.


Alan Meyers, a pediatrician whose previous studies of the school breakfast program have been extremely useful to food and nutrition advocates, will follow up a preliminary study with full-scale research on the difference in incidence of iron deficiency among children living in subsidized vs. unsubsidized housing; earlier results indicate that the former have far lower rates, presumably because paying a far smaller percentage of income for rent permits higher food expenditures and better nutrition. Racial differences will be highlighted. The results will be used by housing and food advocacy groups in efforts to increase federal housing subsidies.
[F201] Grant amount: To be determined.
Contact: Alan Meyers, Dept. Pediatrics, Boston City Hospital, 818 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118; (617) 534-4233.


The Center for Democratic Renewal will undertake research in Gainesville, Georgia, in conjunction with their Newtown Cancer Study, a long-term community-based inquiry into the unusually high rates of cancer, as well as respiratory ill-nesses, among African-American residents of the city's "Newtown" neighborhood -- due presumably to toxic waste sites and industrial pollution. The documentation (for which epidemiologist Frank Bove is consultant) will serve as catalyst for community organizing, education and public policy reform (and possibly litigation) around issues of public health, zoning and environmental racism.
[F208] Grant amount: $9,500.
Contact: Daniel Levitas, Center for Democratic Renewal, PO Box 50469, Atlanta, GA 30302-0469; (404) 221-0025.


The Government Accountability Project (GAP) will continue its "Promoting Workers' Rights in the Poultry Industry" project, concentrating on No. Carolina. Research will focus on the adequacy of current statutory safety, health and free speech protections; how well state and federal agencies monitor and enforce existing workers' rights standards; workers' awareness and exercise of existing rights and protections in this largely minority, female workforce. Needed law reforms, enforcement mechanisms and educational programs will be proposed. The advocacy work will focus on OSHA amendments and regulatory reform.
[F209] Grant amount: $9,000
Contact: Elaine Dodge/Tom Devine, GAP, 810 First St. NE, Wash., DC 20002-3633; (202) 408-0034.


The Southern Arizona People's Law Center will document substandard living conditions and repressive, unresponsive management practices in Tucson's Sec. 236 (with Sec. 8 add-ons) and public housing projects. Tenants (primarily minority) and the project resident councils will participate in the research. Litigation against HUD and project owners/ managers will follow.
[F215] Grant amount: $10,000.
Contact: Paul Gattone/Linda Bohlke, Southern Arizona People's Law Center, 606 N. Fourth Ave., Tucson, AZ 85705; (602) 623-7306.


The Michigan League for Human Services, in conjunction with the Wayne St. Univ. Center for Urban Studies, will research the impact of the state's recent welfare cuts, in particular elimination of General Assistance -- with highly disproportionate impact on minorities. The research will document the population and communities affected by program reductions and eliminations; and the impact on former recipients, private community agencies, selected business establishments, and utility and medical service providers. A statewide conference will be organized to present findings and develop recommendations for future direction and role of state government in social welfare and health programs.
[F212] Grant amount: $9,000
Contact: Beverly McDonald, Mich. League for Human Services, 300N. Washington Sq. #401, Lansing, MI 48933; (517) 487-5436.


The UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies will coordinate a research effort by a consortium of community-oriented UCLA faculty, to produce, over the summer of 1992, a position paper summarizing what current research has to say about the situation underlying the Los Angeles rebellion; and charting out various policy responses to the problems thus delineated. Key members of the group are Rick Brown (Public Health), James Johnson (Center for Urban Poverty Studies), Paul Ong (Urban Planning), Kyeyoung Park (Anthropology), Allen Scott (Lewis Center.). Community input will be integral to the product, which is designed to influence the "Rebuild LA" effort.
[F207] Grant amount: $9200.
Contact: Allen J. Scott, Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1467; (310) 206-4417.


The Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, Korean Youth Center, & UCLA Grad. School of Arch. & Urban Planning will develop an economic strategy and plan for So. Central LA, created with and to be used by community advocates as an alternative to the mainstream planning and development proposals that will be put forth in the "Rebuild LA" effort.
[F203] Grant amount: $9,500.
Contact: Karen Bass, Comm. Coal. for Substance Abuse Prev. & Treatment, 8500 S. Broadway, LA, CA 90003; (213) 750-9640.


The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles Community Economic Development Unit, together with faculty from the UCLA Grad. School of Arch. & Urban Planning (Jacqueline Leavitt and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris), and in cooperation with the city-wide public housing residents' organization, will research the impact of various job training and development programs operating in 21 Los Angeles public housing projects. The results will have considerable influence on the "Rebuild LA" effort, as well as on more general HUD- and Administration-inspired efforts at job creation, enterprise zones, and tenant ownership and management of public housing projects.
[F206] Grant amount: $9000.
Contact: Mary Ochs, Legal Aid Foundation of LA, 8601 S. Broadway, LA, CA 90003; (213) 971-6039.

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