Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is a grassroots organization empowering the low-income population of Poughkeepsie, NY to keep their lights on. Approximately, 295,797 New York residential customers had their utility service disconnected for non-payment in 2014-2015. In the first 14 months of its utility justice work, Nobody Leaves prevented or reversed shut-offs for 48 households through legal rights education and intervention. Working in accordance with the New York Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA) and existing legal frameworks, Nobody Leaves has successfully brought voices of underserved community members to public forums.
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson recently published their full report Just Utilities: Organizing for Solutions to the Household Energy Crisis. This report analyzes the factors contributing to energy insecurity and proposes corresponding policy changes.
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson was a 2015 Sociological Initiatives Foundation award recipient. This award supported the examination of how utility costs contributes to the disproportionately high housing expenses of low-income residents and poverty in the city of Poughkeepsie. The project informed an advocacy campaign and supports the development of a utility component of emerging “Renters’ Bill of Rights Campaigns locally and throughout the state.
The Murphy Institute recently posted this interview of members of recent Sociological Initiative Foundation grantee, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson. It highlights their People’s Power campaign for affordable, sustainable, and just utilities in Poughkeepsie, New York.
In collaboration with the National Council on Crime & Delinquency (NCCD), a 2014 Sociological Initiatives Foundation grantee, BreakOUT!, recently released a report, “We Deserve Better: A Report on Policing in New Orleans By and For Queer and Trans Youth of Color.” This report is part of BreakOUT!’s We Deserve Better Campaign, launched in 2011, and aims to end the criminalization of LGBTQ youth in New Orleans. It analyzes three years of survey and interview data from young LGBTQ individuals about their experiences and interactions with the New Orleans Police Department. The findings show that people experience policing dramatically differently across gender identity, gender expression, and race.
In 2005, the Boston Worker’s Alliance advocated for Boston’s first major ordinance that improves the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) regulations for businesses that work with the city.
The law, heralded as a progressive national model, required City Vendors with contracts over $5,000 to adopt CORI friendly hiring policies. City Vendors were instructed to “Ban the Box,” and only check CORI when hiring for positions that were “sensitive” in nature.
In 2008, BWA received a grant from the Sociological Initiatives Foundation that helped them demonstrate that the ordinance was not being enforced or implemented effectively. Starting in 2012, BWA members worked with the Office of Civil Rights to recommend new regulations to add education, investigation and enforcement teeth to the law.
The advocacy effort encouraged the Boston Mayor to adopt new regulations in 2013. This announcement marked a major step forward for communities affected by unemployment, violence and incarceration. With an improved CORI Ordinance in place, people with CORI barriers will now have better opportunities to find work without being hindered by their past record.
The CORI Ordinance Campaign Allies also included, the Union of Minority Neighborhoods, Stanley Jones Clean Slate Project, Mass Law Reform Institute, Greater Boston Legal Services, MassUniting, SEIU 1199, STRIVE, Former City Councilor Chuck Turner, and City Councilor Stephen Murphy.