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Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States (Research Report)
Colleen Owens, Meredith Dank, Amy Farrell, Justin Breaux, Isela Banuelos, Rebecca Pfeffer, Ryan Heitsmith, Katie Bright, Jack McDevitt

This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice.

Posted to Web: October 21, 2014Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Lax Enforcement and Legal Loopholes Enable Labor Trafficking Victimization (Press Release)
Urban Institute

This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice.

Posted to Web: October 21, 2014Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Comment Letter on the CFPB's HMDA Mortgage Data Proposal (Document)
Ellen Seidman, Laurie Goodman, Wei Li, Carlos Martin, Jim Parrott, Kathryn L.S. Pettit, Peter A. Tatian

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) comprehensive proposal to improve mortgage data collection under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), released in July, 2014, is a critical first step to enhance public understanding of the mortgage market. A group of Urban Institute researchers clarifies the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal, makes suggestions for improvements, and urges fast action by the agency in this comment letter submitted to the CFPB in October, 2014.

Posted to Web: October 20, 2014Publication Date: October 20, 2014

Assessing the Proposed Housing Goals (Commentary)
Jim Parrott, Laurie Goodman, Wei Li, Ellen Seidman, Jun Zhu

By establishing annual housing goals for mortgages purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seeks to encourage lending to creditworthy borrowers with low incomes and those in traditionally underserved communities. Setting these goals requires FHFA to walk a fine line to meaningfully expand lending to all qualified applicants without encouraging lending to borrowers who cannot sustain mortgage payments. This commentary critiques the goals proposed by FHFA for 2015 - 2017, examining three central issues: How do the goals interact with other policy issues; Should the FHFA apply both benchmark (prospective) and market (retrospective) goals; and Did the FHFA set its benchmark goals appropriately?

Posted to Web: October 20, 2014Publication Date: October 20, 2014

State Economic Monitor: October 2014 (Series/State Economic Monitor)
Richard C. Auxier

Most states ended the summer of 2014 on a positive economic note. Up from 14 states a year earlier, 25 states reported August unemployment rates below 6 percent. Every state but Alaska added jobs within the last year. But some troubling signs remain. Inflation-adjusted average weekly wages declined or did not change in 26 states. The latest issue of the State Economic Monitor describes economic and fiscal trends at the state level, highlighting particular differences across the states in employment, state government finances, and housing conditions. This issue also includes a special section on state minimum wages.

Posted to Web: October 16, 2014Publication Date: October 16, 2014

Stop and Frisk: Balancing Crime Control with Community Relations (Research Report)
Nancy G. La Vigne, Pamela Lachman, Shebani Rao, Andrea Matthews

Police have been stopping, questioning, and frisking pedestrians for decades in an effort to protect themselves and the public from harm. However, pedestrians may view the stop and frisk experience as unjustified and perceive that they are subject to unfair and overly aggressive treatment. These feelings are most pronounced for those residing in high-crime areas that are targets for intensive stop and frisk activities. Because citizens’ views of the police contribute to their willingness to cooperate with and empower law enforcement, minimizing the negative effects of stop and frisk is crucial for overall police effectiveness and is especially important for improving relations with communities of color. This publication discusses the constitutionality and legal precedents of stop and frisk and the theory and practice behind these street stops. This background is followed by a discus¬sion of stop and frisk’s unintended consequences and a series of practical recommendations for the lawful and respectful use of pedestrian stops in the context of community policing.

Posted to Web: October 15, 2014Publication Date: October 15, 2014

Evaluation: Rebuild by Design Phase I (Research Report)
Carlos Martin, Elizabeth Oo, Rolf Pendall, Diane K. Levy, Abigail Baum

Rebuild by Design launched in June 2013 by the federal Hurricane Sandy Task Force. HUD, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the JPB Foundation partnered with the Urban Institute to evaluate the first phase of RBD from conception through design awards. The evaluation found that RBD’s implementation held true to its innovative vision for integrating design competition into disaster recovery and its ambition for regional and resilient infrastructure. Leadership among the core partners and the magnitude of the $1 billion in CDBG-DR funding for awards motivated all of the key stakeholders in spite of an expedited timeframe and daunting requirements.

Posted to Web: October 13, 2014Publication Date: October 13, 2014

In States That Don't Expand Medicaid, Who Gets New Coverage Assistance Under the ACA and Who Doesn't? (Policy Briefs/Timely Analysis of Health Policy Issues)
Stan Dorn, Matthew Buettgens, Jay Dev

This research provides more evidence that state officials' decisions against expansion adversely affect already disadvantaged residents. While 5.9 million adults with moderate incomes in nonexpanding states qualify for financial assistance to purchase insurance through the new marketplaces, nearly 6.3 million uninsured residents with lower incomes remain ineligible for help because the state's Medicaid program was not expanded. The median income of those ineligible for coverage assistance is less than $800 a month, compared to more than $2,000 a month for those eligible to receive subsidies.

Posted to Web: October 09, 2014Publication Date: October 09, 2014

Child Care Assistance for Parents in Education and Training: Executive Summary (Research Brief)
Gina Adams, Caroline Heller, Shayne Spaulding, Teresa Derrick-Mills

New economic realities have focused attention on how to best design workforce development strategies to help low-wage and low-skill workers succeed. Lack of child care is one important barrier that can make it difficult for low-income parents to successfully participate in workforce development programs that help people find jobs, job readiness activities, and supportive services. This brief focuses on one element of this barrier: the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), the federal and state child care assistance program. It examines CCDF eligibility policies and services for parents who need child care to participate in education and training activities.

Posted to Web: October 09, 2014Publication Date: October 09, 2014

Balancing School, Work, and Family: Low-Income Parents' Participation in Education and Training (Research Report)
Lauren Eyster, Thomas Callan, Gina Adams

A key policy concern is how to best help low-income individuals gain the skills and credentials they need to find a well-paying job. However, low-income parents in particular may face certain barriers, such as access to reliable child care. This brief uses nationally-representative data to examine the education and training participation of low-income parents and understand their personal and family characteristics, both for those who do and do not engage in education and training. The brief discusses implications for workforce development and child care policy and programs to better support these parents as they balance school, work and family responsibilities.

Posted to Web: October 08, 2014Publication Date: October 08, 2014

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