Institute on Assets and Social Policy

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IASP in the News

"10 Legitimate Proposals That Could Finally Close America's Massive Racial Wealth Gap" by Taylor Gordon of the Atlanta Black Star

"Clinton, Bush Focus on Wealth Gap as Homeownership Dives" by Steve Matthews, Kathleen Howley & Clea Benson of Bloomberg

"Outdated Credit Scoring Models Shut Minorities Out of Housing Market" by James H. Carr Guest Post at Forbes

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IASP is Hiring

Would you like to be a core member of a dynamic team?  Does our work excite you?  If you answered YES to both of those questions then you may be the team member that we are looking for.  IASP is looking for a dynamic individual excited about advancing IASP’s research and policy agenda in two areas: understanding the major drivers of the racial wealth gap and advancing our understanding of wealth mobility and economic security for families with children.  Click to read more.

What's New

MAY 2015

The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters Webinar

Director Tom Shapiro, Catherine Ruetschlin (Senior Policy Analyst, Dēmos), and Anne Price (Managing Program Director, Insight Center for Communicty Economic Development) introduced the Racial Wealth Audit™, a new tool that prepares advocates, policymakers, and analysts to proactively reduce the racial wealth gap through policy analysis and design during a highly anticipated webinar.  To read more about this tool, download The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters.

Associate Director Presents at Strategic Philanthropy Webinar

IASP's Associate Director Janet Boguslaw and Daria Sheehan from the Citi Foundation discussed the strategic framework of asset development during a webinar hosted by Asset Funders Network.  As part of the release of the brief Strategic Philanthropy: Integrating Investments in Asset Building, developed by IASP and the Asset Funders Network, this webinar addressed how integrating investments in asset building can impact sector-based strategies, and revealed examples of how funders and community-based organizations are applying this strategic approach to effect greater social and economic impact. 

APRIL 2015

Research Director Lead Co-Author on Financial Supports Paper

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released a Community Development Discussion Paper that examines the extent to which family financial transfers occur among Boston residents of color, as compared with national estimates.  Financial Resources in Kinship and Social Networks: Flow and Relationship to Household Wealth by Race and Ethnicity among Boston Residents. Authored by IASP's Tatjana Meschede, visiting scholar in the Bank’s Regional & Community Outreach department, the study analyzes new data collected for the Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as part of the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color (NASCC) survey. The survey provides detailed information on assets and debts that allows analysis to be broken down by race, ethnicity, and country of origin for targeted groups.

Research Associate Joins Racial Wealth Audit™ Project

Lars Dietrich has accepted a part-time position as Research Associate.  He is a political scientist and Fulbright Ph.D. student and a social policy researcher with a focus on education and racial/ethnic inequality using quantitative and qualitative methods. His expertise is in policy research in bullying behavior in schools, racial/ethnic achievement gaps, employment inequality, and the racial wealth gap. At the Institute, Lars is working on the Racial Wealth AuditTM project by running statically analysis, writing and editing, and presenting findings. Lars received a Master's in Political Science at the University of Vienna, and a Master's in Social Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management.  He is a PhD candidate, currently working on his dissertation which focuses on the causes, consequences and racial/ethnic differences of bullying behavior in schools.

Utilizing Economic Mobility to Advance our Understanding About How People and Communities Get Ahead

IASP Research Director, Tatjana Meschede, presented "Wealth Mobility of Families Raising Children in the 21st Century" at the Ninth Biennial Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference. Over the years, this unique event has aimed to bridge the gap between research, policy and practice on key issues facing the country. The 2015 conference seeks to inform a robust public conversation about economic mobility.

MARCH 2015

A Discussion About the Urgency of Addressing Wealth Inequality and Providing Opportunity for All 

IASP Director, Thomas Shapiro, was a panelist at the Boston Fed's Regional & Community Outreach team's Color of Wealth Summit. The panel discussion included a presentation on new findings on wealth inequality in the Boston metropolitan area.

New Tool Measures Impact on Public Policy Choices

Jointly, IASP and Dēmos released The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters. This brief explains the Racial Wealth AuditTM tool and how it can be used to evaluate the impact of housing, education, and labor markets on the wealth gap between white, black, and Latino households.

More What's New


Elsevier Publishes IASP Research Director and Graduate Research Associate's Paper on Evaluation and Program Planning

Elsevier LogoThe use of short-term rental subsidy vouchers offers a new approach to addressing the housing needs of families facing homelessness. In Massachusetts, the Family Home pilot program placed homeless families in housing instead of shelter, providing two years of rental subsidy plus support services with the goal of enabling families to maintain market rate housing. IASP's Tatjana Meschede and Sara Chaganti co-authored Home for now: A mixed-methods evaluation of a short-term housing support program for homeless families. This mixed-method case study complements staff and participant interview data with participant survey and administrative data to evaluate the implementation and short-term outcomes of Family Home in one region. Data point to improved family well-being in housing but also persistent barriers to achieving longer-term housing and economic stability. Of the families who had exited the program at the end of the study, one quarter were able to retain their housing at market rate, only 9% returned to shelter, and one in five moved in with families/friends. Lack of affordable housing in a high rental cost region and jobs that pay living wages were among the major reasons that families struggled to maintain housing. This research points to the need for integrating supportive services from the program’s start, including targeted workforce development, to plan for the end of the short-term rental subsidy.  For more information, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Featured Projects

Secure Jobs for Homeless Families: Expanding an Integrated Service Model

Secure Jobs In 2012, the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation, in partnership with the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), spearheaded a new service model for homeless families that integrates employment and housing services to provide holistic support to families in crisis. This model, called Secure Jobs, piloted in five cities in Massachusetts in the spring of 2013. Met with widespread support since its inception, Secure Jobs has expanded to two more cities in Massachusetts, is launching in Connecticut, and has been showcased nationally.

This research and policy brief introduces the second phase of Secure Jobs model and documents changes to the model in the second phase of the initiative. Subsequent briefs will focus in on specific program elements, offering information on their impacts and recommendations for best practices.  For more information about this project, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Paper Demonstrates the Advantages of Combining Public and Private Sector Asset Building

Click to Read ReportDeveloped by IASP and the Asset Funders Network, with the generous support of the Citi Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, Strategic Philanthropy: Integrating Investments in Asset Building offers compelling evidence and examples for achieving stronger and more sustainable outcomes by combining asset building with a variety of public and private sector community partners including employment, education, healthcare and affordable housing.

A promising approach for addressing these challenges is utilizing a framework that more effectively ties together and shapes the disparate policies, investment structures, practices, and stakeholders to leverage resources and impacts. The strategic framework of asset development helps to create an effective, integrated, and sustainable system, enabling families to move through safety nets into financial security and opportunity. Asset building integration shifts investment goals from remedying deficiencies to building on strengths by increasing capability, access, and opportunity. It enables foundations to integrate and expand the scope, scale, and long-term impact of their work, shifting the focus from families' vulnerabilities to their opportunities for success.

For more information, please contact Janet Boguslaw at (781) 736-3738.

Researchers Design New Tool to Measure the Impact of Public Policy Choices on the Racial Wealth Gap 

Click to read Press Release 

A vast amount of research has focused on how public policy addresses economic disparities but there has not been a systematic analysis of the types of public policies that offer the greatest potential for reducing the racial wealth gap, until now.  In The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters, researchers from IASP and Dēmos collaboratively designed a new tool—the Racial Wealth Audit—to evaluate the impact of housing, education, and labor markets on the wealth gap between white, black, and Latino households.  This tool assesses how policies and outcomes in these areas affect the racial wealth gap. To greatly reduce the racial wealth gap, policymakers must confront its historic and policy root causes. 

For more information on the Racial Wealth AuditTM please contact Thomas Shapiro at (781) 736-4671; media inquires please contact Charity Adams at (781) 736-8689.

Report Reveals “No Significant Improvement” in Senior Security

Post-Recession Senior In-Security Remains HighIndicators such as growth in employment rates and gains in the construction and housing sectors signal that the national economy is on the road to recovery.  Yet, with the economy recovering there has been no significant improvement in senior security.  In the 7th brief in the Living Longer on Less series, Post-Recession Senior In-Security Remains High, IASP explores the obstacles seniors face and the pitfalls Policymakers should avoid.

For more information, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Study Examines Wealth Creation and Wealth Management Among the Nation’s Wealthiest African Americans

Click to view reportCredit Suisse, in collaboration with IASP, released “Wealth Patterns Among the Top 5% of African Americans” highlighting the distinctive investing behaviors within the top 5% (as measured by net worth) of the African-American community.  The study showed that the top 5% of African Americans invest a greater proportion of their wealth in lower-volatility assets relative to a white comparison group, including insurance, savings bonds, and CDs.  Click here to read more

For more information, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Issue Brief Presents Program and Policy Implications of Workforce Diversity Research for Health Care Employers and Workforce Development Leaders in New Hampshire

Click to read reportWorkforce development initiatives traditionally focus on increasing access to education and training for low-income individuals.  IASP's research on the health care sector in New Hampshire indicates that a successful response to changes in demographics and the health care environment includes an increased focus on preparing the workplace, together with cutting-edge preparation of the workforce.  Strengthening New Hampshire's Health Care Workforce: Strategies for Employers and Workforce Development Leaders (link) presents four key strategies to enhance the workforce, including a new concept of inter-organizational pathways for advancement.  Developing a diverse health care workforce in order to deliver quality care to all will require the collaboration and investment of employers, educational institutions, workforce development agencies, and community organizations.

This brief represents the third publication in a series of research products developed by the Healthcare Employer Research Initiative funded by the U.S. HHS Administration for Children and Families.  For more information, contact Sandy Venner at (781) 736-8688.

New Report Examines the Disparities in Neighborhood Opportunity

Click to download the reportPeople are drawn to neighborhoods for various reasons—family ties, connections to friends, attachment to institutions—yet, the financial and social resources that a family has access to within these neighborhoods affects a family’s well-being and ability to gain social and economic mobility.  In “Location, Location, Location: The Role Neighborhoods Play in Family Wealth and Well-Being”, the Institute on Assets and Social Policy examines the disparities in neighborhood opportunity. This brief delineates between high opportunity and low opportunity neighborhoods, explains the disparities in neighborhood opportunity and reveals the reasons why families are sorted by race and class into different quality neighborhoods.

Drawing on longitudinal survey and interview data, this brief seeks to understand how families negotiate the diverse structure of neighborhood opportunity and explores their experiences of living in different types of neighborhoods.  National-level longitudinal quantitative data illustrates the consequences of where a family lives and highlights why families place so much emphasis on gaining access to the “right” neighborhood. 

The history of racial segregation in the United States has laid the foundation for ongoing neighborhood opportunity segregation.  Policy has helped structure the segregation of opportunity by race and class, and so policy clearly has a critical role to play in helping to create a fairer distribution of opportunity by neighborhood.

For more information, please contact Thomas Shapiro at (781) 736-4671

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