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.
Call for Concept Proposals: Action Research Projects
Deadline:August 15, 2017
Amount: $10,000 – $20,000
The Sociological Initiatives Foundation is dedicated to the belief that research and action are intrinsically inseparable. We invite concept proposals for projects that link an explicit research design to a concrete social action strategy. Projects should also have clear social change goals.
SIF has funded projects in the areas of civic participation, community organizing, crime and law, education, health, housing, immigration, labor organizing, and language/literacy.
Some examples of desired applicants are:
advocacy or community groups that conduct research that can withstand challenge in academic and policy arenas
academics that organize or link to a constituency through their research
A limited number of concept applicants will be invited to submit full proposals in the fall of 2017.
Applicants chosen for funding will receive 60% of the funds immediately in January of 2018. They will receive the remaining 40% after 11 months contingent upon submitting evidence that the project’s 11 month milestones have been met.
Our analysis of past grant recipients has shown that projects typically take two years, so applicants should think in terms of such a timeline. The Foundation will also track projects and may choose to invite select grant recipients to apply for a second round of funding to enhance a project showing significant accomplishments in the previous two years.
Complete guidelines, information on past funded projects, and the on-line concept application are available on this site using the links above.
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 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.