Transforming Neighborhoods with Government Partners (Research Report)
The Great Recession and the corresponding collapse of the housing market have had far-reaching effects on communities across the country. With nonprofits and local governments both trying to do more with less, Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) commissioned a study to crystallize the tools its affiliates need to nurture successful collaborations. Synthesizing information gleaned from a literature review, an extensive web survey of Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) affiliates, and case studies of three communities, this report suggests concrete strategies to plan, build, and sustain relationships with local government partners.
Opportunities for Police Cost Savings Without Sacrificing Service Quality: Reducing Fuel Consumption (Research Report)
Police vehicles burn a great deal of fuel while patrolling continuously. Various approaches have been proven to significantly reduce the amount of fuel used and its cost. Hybrid vehicles typically get two-three times higher mileage per gallon than conventional vehicles and have proven viable for policing, in many cities, including New York. Computers in vehicles that reduce trips back to stations, fuel-saving driving techniques (such as reducing idling), good vehicle maintenance (such as maintaining proper tire pressures), use of on-line reporting and other strategies such as community policing that require fewer vehicle trips also can reduce fuel consumption.
Opportunities for Cost Savings in Corrections Without Sacrificing Service Quality: Inmate Health Care (Research Report)
In many cities and counties, inmate health care comprises as much as a third of the cost of the corrections department. Options are presented on ways to substantially reduce the costs without reducing the quality of the care. We drew on practices of jails and prison across the nation. The approaches for cost reduction include ways to reduce demand or need for health care (e.g., screening need for hospitalization), and ways to reduce the cost per inmate when care is need (e.g. use of telemedicine.)
Social Impact Bonds : Testimony before the Committee on Appropriations Maryland House of Delegates (Testimony)
Social welfare problems in Maryland and elsewhere have remained intractable because their scale is beyond the ability of government to address alone, John Roman told the Appropriations Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates. Social impact bonds’ integration of private capital into traditionally public-sector activities is a promising mechanism for addressing these challenges. On March 6, 2013, this testimony was presented to the Maryland Senate Committee on Budget and Taxation regarding the Senate version of the social impact bond legislation.
Improving Public Services and Achieving Sustainable, Inclusive Development: Development Assistance and the Role of the Local Public Sector (Policy Briefs)
Industrialized countries typically spend 50% or more of public sector resources to fund public services at the local level including public health services, access to drinking water, local infrastructure development, and so on. In contrast, developing economies typically dedicate a much smaller share of public resources to front-line service delivery within the local public sector. In countries like Bangladesh or Egypt, only about 20% of all public sector spending trickles down to the local level for service delivery. Dr. Jamie Boex, a Senior Research Associate, discusses the ramifications of this for international development and how The Urban Institute's Local Public Sector Initiative plays a role.
Labor Force Participation, Taxes, and the Nation's Social Welfare System: Testimony before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform United States House of Representatives (Testimony)
Gene Steuerle testifies before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on labor force participation, taxes, and the social welfare system. Although there is some disagreement over the extent to which the nation’s social welfare systems affect work efforts, there is almost no disagreement that they are designed in piecemeal fashion, leading to a variety of unfair, inefficient, and somewhat strange effects. Our modern economy requires modern approaches to social welfare and taxation. At a minimum, we need to begin approaching our wide assortment of programs, phase-outs of benefits, and tax rates in a more integrated fashion.
Opportunities for Police Cost Savings Without Sacrificing Service Quality: Reducing False Alarms (Research Report)
In many cities, false alarms from home and business security systems number in the tens of thousands each year, waste millions of dollars of officer time, and detract from attention to reducing crimes. Options are presented on ways to substantially reduce the effects of such false alarms and the police responses to them. We analyzed experiences of Montgomery County, MD; Seattle, WA; and Salt Lake City, UT, which reduced false alarms by 66-90% and saved 10-30 police officer-years annually.
Who Does What? The Changing Shape of U.S. Federalism (Research Report)
Surrounding many of the debates about the public sector has been one about which government level should be involved in performing which functions. As an empirical matter, both centralization and decentralization have occurred together throughout U.S. history. The vast majority of federalism choices are mainly made to resolve the equality/diversity (pro-centralism) and uniformity/ experimentation (pro-decentralization) dilemmas endemic in a federal system. There is no a priori basis for knowing which government level is best, but beyond constitutional restrictions, the criterion should be the very pragmatic one of which level is best able to take on the problem at hand.
This chapter is an excerpt from the book The Government We Deserve: Responsive Democracy and Changing Expectations, available from the Urban Institute Press.