What does successful correctional reform look like?

By Nicole Levins  ::  March 12th, 2015

Today, the federal prison population is 750 percent bigger than it was in 1980, costing taxpayers billions of dollars and making no measurable impact on public safety. What factors are driving this enormous growth? What can be done to stem the tide? To come up with answers, Congress created the Charles Colson Task Force on [...]

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How foundation grants change over the economic cycle, and why it matters

By Ellen Steele  ::  March 11th, 2015

Foundations are the backbone of the charitable sector, providing grants that support new programming, research, scholarships, and infrastructure. Though foundation spending accounts for just 0.3 percent of GDP, it can still make a big difference in stabilizing nonprofits during downturns—a crucial time when individual donations fall and demand for services goes up. However, many foundations [...]

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What's at stake now that Obama's executive action on immigration has stalled?

By María Enchautegui  ::  March 6th, 2015

A Texas federal court has issued an injunction temporarily blocking President Obama’s November 20th 2015 executive actions on immigration. The administration has requested a stay to lift the injunction and filed an appeal to overturn the order, but what happens next isn’t clear—especially for the over 4 million undocumented immigrants who would be affected. The [...]

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King v. Burwell: What’s at stake?

By Linda J. Blumberg and John Holahan and Matthew Buettgens  ::  March 2nd, 2015

On March 4, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the King v. Burwell case, a challenge to the Affordable Care Act that could drastically alter the course of the Obama administration’s landmark law. The plaintiff argues that the law prohibits residents of states without state-run health insurance marketplaces (also called exchanges) from receiving federal [...]

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A preservation strategy will help DC meet affordable housing needs

By Peter Tatian  ::  March 2nd, 2015

                                     Washington, DC is one of the most expensive places in the country to live. As many low-income residents continue to face challenges in finding affordable housing, the new city administration, led by Mayor Muriel Bowser, has emphasized the necessity of preserving existing affordable housing and building new affordable units to help meet those needs. [...]

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The mortgage market can tolerate twice as much credit risk

By Wei Li and Laurie Goodman  ::  March 2nd, 2015

The Housing Finance Policy Center in December introduced a new measure of mortgage credit availability—the Credit Availability Index or HCAI. Today, we are releasing the results of our most recent HCAI analysis on loans made during the first three quarters of 2014. The HCAI measures the amount of default risk taken by the mortgage market [...]

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Bipartisan support emerges for expanding apprenticeship

By Robert Lerman  ::  February 27th, 2015

Republican and Democratic leaders have long agreed on the goals of expanding economic opportunity and upward mobility and of rapid economic growth. Now, both sides are finding common ground on one of the best means to achieving these goals—expanding apprenticeships. This week, Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) introduced a bill [...]

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Many eligible SNAP beneficiaries are tripped up by bureaucratic hurdles

By Matthew Johnson  ::  February 26th, 2015

Many low-income adults and families entitled to food assistance are mistakenly disconnected from the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because of trouble navigating bureaucratic requirements, said Urban Institute Senior Fellow Greg Mills to the House Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee on Thursday. The financial consequences cost both the government and the affected beneficiaries, he added. “Agencies incur [...]

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Does trading sex define who you are?

By Mitchyll Mora  ::  February 26th, 2015

In our recently released study, “Surviving the Streets of New York: Experiences of LGBTQ Youth, YMSM and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex,” Urban Institute researchers trained youth from Streetwise and Safe to interview young people about their experiences engaging in survival sex. The lead youth researcher, Mitchyll Mora, offered to share his perspective on working [...]

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