urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Washington D.C. Region

The District of Columbia and the surrounding suburbs face complex, interconnected problems within a rapidly evolving region. The Urban Institute conducts research on a variety of policy challenges facing the Washington region, including work on child well-being, education reform, affordable housing, homelessness, poverty, crime, and health care. Through these projects, the Institute helps policymakers understand Washington's unique needs and develop practical strategies to meet those needs.

Washington D.C. metro areaResearch areas include:

  • Crime and Justice
  • Housing
  • Health
  • Neighborhoods
  • Nonprofit Organizations 

Featured Links

  • District of Columbia Crime Policy Institute
    Focused on crime and justice policy in Washington, D.C., DCPI’s mission is to support improvements in the administration of justice and public safety policies through evidence-based research.
  • NeighborhoodInfo DC
    Focused on supporting community organizations, neighborhood leadership, residents, and government through providing a wide-range of data indicators about D.C. neighborhoods.
 
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Preparing Youth for College and Career (Research Report)
Brett Theodos, Mike Pergamit, Sara Edelstein, Taz George, Lesley Freiman

This report presents baseline and process study findings of an evaluation of the Urban Alliance high school internship program, which provides training, mentoring, and work experience to high school seniors from distressed communities in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and Chicago. The report, which focuses on the program's operations in DC and Baltimore in the 2011–12 and 2012–13 program years, explains the internship program model and its various components; describes the characteristics of youth participants; and presents findings from dozens of interviews and focus groups with program staff, youth, job mentors, and other stakeholders.

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

Close-Range Gunfire around DC Schools (Research Report)
Samuel Bieler, Nancy G. La Vigne

This report examines the incidence of gunfire as measured by gunshot detection technology using data from the 2011-2012 school year. It finds that a disproportionate volume of gunfire happened near a small share of DC schools. About half of DC schools covered by gunshot detection sensors are in close proximity to gunfire, and four schools were subject to repeated bursts of gunfire. These findings shed new light on students' exposure to violence and raise important questions about the psychological impact of gunfire on students and how their proximity to gunfire may affect truancy and educational outcomes.

Posted to Web: September 03, 2014Publication Date: September 03, 2014

Housing Security in the Washington Region (Research Report)
Leah Hendey, Peter A. Tatian, Graham MacDonald

This study examines critical gaps in affordable housing across a range of income levels in the Washington, DC region. More permanent supportive housing is needed to reduce chronic homelessness. The lack of affordable apartments, particularly for extremely low income renters, contributed to the number of homeless people and resulted in over half of all renters paying over 30 percent of their income on housing costs. Low income homebuyers also faced challenges because of high prices. These findings can help local governments and philanthropy direct scarce public and private resources to address the region's affordable housing needs.

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

Making Sense of Childhood Asthma: Lessons for Building a Better System of Care (Research Report)
Marla McDaniel, Susan J. Popkin, Judy Berman, Paola Barahona, Priya Saxena, Deborah Quint, Stephen J. Teach

This report highlights findings from a qualitative study about asthma care for low-income African American and Latino children ages 4-14 in Washington, DC, where nearly one in five children under age 18 has the condition. We interviewed medical providers, health administrators, policy makers and caregivers whose children had visited the IMPACT DC clinic (located in the emergency department of Children’s National Health System) about the primary barriers, challenges, and opportunities for improving asthma treatment in DC. The stakeholders each felt their school, clinic, agency, or department had a role to play in improving asthma care, and that many challenges were system-related. Three major areas where caregivers and stakeholders described system breakdowns were poor communication among caregivers, providers, and other stakeholders; inadequate access to both the quality and quantity of care needed to manage a child's asthma; and scarce long-term support to address both the social-emotional and financial burdens created by managing a chronic childhood illness.

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

Ten Years of Language Access in Washington, DC (Research Report)
Hamutal Bernstein, Julia Gelatt, Devlin Hanson, William Monson

This report provides an overview of the implementation of the Language Access Act within the context of the unique demographic and economic characteristics of the District's immigrant community. We describe DC's Language Access Program, its creation, and evolution, profile the city's LEP/NEP population, and identify accomplishments and challenges for each of the three major domains required for ensuring full language access: identifying language needs, serving language needs, and monitoring the provision of those services. We conclude with recommendations for next steps for city government officials and other stakeholders as they continue to strengthen the Language Access Program in the District.

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

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