Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York, along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ballmer Group in the state of Washington, today announced that Detroit is one of 10 cities across the U.S. to participate in a $12-million initiative to identify, pilot, and measure the success of interventions to accelerate economic mobility for residents.
Lansing also will participate in the initiative.
Over the next 18 months, Detroit will help connect low-income residents in affordable housing units to programs and services that increase their economic opportunities and likelihood of achieving housing stability.
The project coincides with the city’s investment into the preservation and development of affordable housing, including the $250-million Affordable Housing Leverage Fund. This new initiative will use a metrics-based approach to identify best ways that affordable housing can serve as an access point to the city’s array of services.
As the current generation’s chances of earning more than their parents are declining, according to Opportunity Insights, young people and families also face barriers to climb the economic ladder based on the neighborhoods where they live.
The initiative seeks to respond to the demand among local leaders for new, more effective interventions to address rising income inequality and declining economic mobility. In Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 American Mayors Survey, the largest comprehensive public opinion survey of mayors and city managers, one of respondents’ top concerns was the challenge of providing more and better economic opportunities for all residents.
“In Detroit, it’s one of our top priorities to develop and preserve affordable housing across the city. Now we’re going to take a closer look at best ways to connect residents in these units to the services Detroit has to offer, such as job training through Detroit at Work,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are so excited to get to work on this initiative with the support of great partners like Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group.”
Detroit was selected through a competitive process that looked at local commitment to addressing economic mobility, willingness to use data and evidence to accelerate progress, and ability to dedicate a team to accomplish the initiative’s goals. The city will also work with other participating cities to share lessons and experiences, further advance the work, and build a model for future collaboration among cities on the topic.
Detroit staff already have begun working with a team of advisors from Results for America and the Behavioral Insights Team, both partners in What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative that helps cities confront urgent challenges through data- and evidence-based decision-making. What Works Cities partners include Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Government Excellence, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab, and the Sunlight Foundation.
Opportunity Insights at Harvard University is helping Detroit staff draw insights regarding economic mobility in the community using data from Opportunity Atlas, an interactive resource developed in collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau.
Other participating cities include Albuquerque, N.M.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; New Orleans, La.; Newark, N.J.; Racine, Wis.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Tulsa, Okla.