Cities must challenge U.S. Census count

Social Compact assists Cities in Census Challenges


The recently released U.S. Census once again calls our attention to a persistent problem for cities like Miami.

An accurate census count represents more than just a full accounting of who lives in our cities, it is essential to ensuring our rightful political representation in Washington and our state capitals, as well as how much of our hard-earned tax dollars come back to our local communities.

Currently, census data is used to distribute funds for over 170 federal programs in a variety of areas including housing, crime prevention, transportation, and job training. Accurate data ensures that funds are distributed to the areas with the most need.  Inaccurate date not only results in cities losing millions of dollars in both federal and state aid, but also political representation in the U.S. House and our state legislatures.

Read the Full article on the Miame Herald.

Healthy Food Access Report Released

Food Deserts Presentation

Citing Social Compact’s DrillDown reports, PolicyLink and The Food Trust release a comprehensive healthy food access report.

PolicyLink and The Food Trust are pleased today to release “The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters” – a first-of-its-kind review of all the available research data on the issue. That’s more than 130 studies conducted during the past 20 years.

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Study Finds 825,000 Adults In New York City Do Not Have Bank Or Credit Union Accounts

The New York Department of Consumer Affairs commissioned the Social Compact to provide analytical estimates of the banking patterns of New Yorkers. After receiving the Social Compacts report, the Department issued the following press release.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kay Sarlin/Elizabeth Miller, (212) 487-4283

Commissioner Mintz Kicks Off Citywide Outreach Campaign to Enroll Unbanked New Yorkers into NYC SafeStart Bank Accounts

Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced that more than 825,000 adult New Yorkers do not have bank accounts, but instead use fringe financial services like check cashers to pay bills, cash payroll checks, buy money orders and conduct other financial transactions. To help New Yorkers transition from using high-cost fringe financial services, DCA has created NYC SafeStart Bank Account, the City’s first banking product available to all New Yorkers.

The Citywide Financial Services Study, which for the first time quantifies the number of unbanked adults in New York City, was commissioned by DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE). In 2008, DCA’s OFE released a Neighborhood Financial Services Study, which examined banking practices in two neighborhoods – Jamaica, Queens and the Melrose section of the Bronx – and found that residents in these areas spent more than $19 million a year on check-cashing fees alone. This new study provides a complete Citywide picture of banking practices in all five boroughs, including local level data on the number and proportion of unbanked and underbanked households, locations of traditional and non-traditional financial institutions, and measure of access to financial institutions. Commissioner Mintz presented the findings at a forum hosted by the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School entitled “Banking Under the Mattress: Financial Literacy and Unbanked New Yorkers.”

“Having a bank account helps families save money, grow their assets and guard against unexpected financial emergencies. But far too many New Yorkers don’t have access to banking products that are safe or affordable, or get pushed out of the mainstream banking because of unpredictable fees like overdraft protection,” said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “The City has focused our resources on what is needed most – creating safe, affordable banking products. The NYC SafeStart Account is yet another way the Department of Consumer Affairs can help New Yorkers protect their money at a time when they need it most.”

Mayor Bloomberg highlighted the NYC SafeStart Account during his 2010 State of the City Address as first of its kind in the nation. The NYC SafeStart Account is an ATM-based starter account designed to help New Yorkers protect their money by avoiding costly fees, like overdraft fees or monthly fees, which City data shows is the top reason unbanked City residents do not use, or stop using banks or credit unions. The account, which can never be overdrawn, is being offered in partnership with Amalgamated Bank, Bethex Federal Credit Union, Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Capital One Bank, Carver Federal Savings Bank, Checkspring, Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union M&T Bank, Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union and Union Settlement Federal Credit Union. Any New Yorker is eligible to open a NYC SafeStart Account, which, for the first two years, includes:

    * No overdraft fees
    * No monthly fees, provided minimum balances are met
    * Minimum balance requirements of $25 or less
    * ATM Card 

For more information about how to open a NYC Safe Start Account, City residents can call 311 or visit nyc.gov/ofe.  

The Department commissioned Social Compact, a leading non-profit research firm, and Acxiom, a global marketing services company, to provide analytical estimates of the banking patterns of New Yorkers for the Citywide Financial Services Study. The study includes data derived from public and private sources, including InfoBase-X data, the largest collection of U.S. consumer data available in one source.

The Department commissioned Social Compact to provide analytical estimates of the banking patterns of New Yorkers.

Hearing on Census Data and Its Use In Federal Funding

Social Compact presents testimony to the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives

On July 9, Social Compact director of external relations, Jamie Alderslade, submitted oral testimony to the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives. The Subcommittee held a hearing on “Census Data and Its Use in Federal Formula Funding.”

Alderslade, along with Mayor Carty Finkbeiner of Toledo, OH, Mayor Robert Bowser of East Orange, New Jersey, and, Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, presented testimony to Subcommittee Chair Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), and members Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) during the second part of the hearing.

Socia Compact’s testimony called for stronger partnerships between cities and the Census Bureau, and was warmly received by congressional members. The Subcommittee further explored Social Compact’s work—the DrillDown and the technical assistance to cities wishing to mount census challenges—through extensive questioning. Following the hearing, Subcommittee staff reaffirmed the importance of the relationship with Social Compact and their commitment to collaborating on a number of issues in the run up to the 2010 Census. It is likely that additional hearings will be held as Social Compact identifies new issues to be addressed.

The hearings can be viewed by clicking on these links: Panel 1 | Panel 2

Nonprofit counts Census errors

The Census Bureau is reporting an exodus from suburbs, but the numbers are just estimates. A non-profit called Social Compact is finding a lot of uncounted people and it’s redefining how inner-city populations are tallied. Jeff Tyler reports.

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Mayor Mallory recognizes Social Compact as one of Cincinnati’s great partners

in Cincinnati Mayor's' 2009 State of the City address

From the Office of the Mayor:

Mayor Mallory Delivers Optimistic State of the City Address

Cincinnati - Mayor Mark Mallory declared tonight that “the state of Cincinnati is strong and we are well prepared to face the challenges of the future.” Tonight, the Mayor delivered his fourth State of the City Address to an energetic crowd of around 900 citizens in the Duke Energy Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom.

Throughout his address, the Mayor pointed to partnerships as the key to the progress in the city, citing specific examples in the areas of job creation, public safety, the environment, neighborhood development, and youth.

“Tonight, as we have reflected on the success of last year, it is clear that our greatest accomplishments are the result of strong partnerships,” Mayor Mallory said. “We have come a long way, but we still have challenges ahead. The way we get through them is through partnerships.” The Mayor closed by calling on all citizens to “be a partner in some effort to positively change Cincinnati.”

Mayor Mallory focused much of the speech on the strength of Cincinnati’s Economy and how the city was prepared to weather the current economic climate. In addition, the Mayor made a strong case for building a Streetcar, arguing that it will bring over a billion dollars of investment to Cincinnati that will provide resources for all of the city’s neighborhoods.

The program began with testimonials by six individuals who have been partners in the City’s success: David Lombardi of the Mayor’s Young Professional Kitchen Cabinet; Jarod Jameson of the MuralWorks Program; Tim Cappell, President of Humana; Christie Bryant of the Avondale Community Council; Dante Ingram, a Streetworker in

the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence; and Kay Geiger, President of PNC Bank.
The speech will be posted on the Mayor’s website: http://www.mayormallory.com

The 2009 State of the City Address.

City’s population, income higher than estimates

City’s population, income higher than estimates

A study of economic trends shows that Baltimore City residents earn more than estimated but are adequately served by fullservice grocery stores. — Examiner file photo Baltimore City might have more money in its pocket than originally thought, according to a new study.

Baltimore’s average household income is $51,800, which is 23 percent higher than the 2000 Census Bureau figure, according to the Baltimore Neighborhood Market DrillDown report released Monday. The average income of homeowners who bought property in the city between 2003 and 2006 was even higher — $75,500 a year — the study found.

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San Francisco’s challenge to U.S. Census a success

Today Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that San Francisco’s challenge of the U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimate for the City and County of San Francisco was a success. New figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau, found an increase in population by 34,209 for a total of 799,185. The new estimate allows San Francisco to receive more federal and state funding.

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