Our research reports have brought lasting change to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers.

For example, our book, Street Practice, utilizes case studies to introduce models for urban research and policy advocacy.

Failing Phones

After months of hearing from clients experiencing significant issues with HRA's Infoline such as dropped calls and excessive wait times, the Urban Justice Center’s Safety Net Project decided to conduct an informal ‘audit’ to test the efficacy of the HRA Infoline. Between June 23, 2020 and August 4, 2020, we made 98 calls to the Infoline and tracked results. The overall rate of calls dropped was over 58 percent. In addition to dropped calls, we also documented significant issues.

Bureaucracy of Benefits: Struggling to Access Public Assistance and SNAP in NYC

In February of 2019,  we released our latest research report. Entitled Bureaucracy of Benefits: Struggling to Access Public Assistance and SNAP in NYC, the report contains the results of over 140 surveys submitted by New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) clients.

Culture of Deterrence: Voices of NYC Public Assistance Recipients

This report contains the results of over 130 surveys submitted by New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) clients. Culture of Deterrence systematically documents HRA's failure to properly deliver vital safety net benefits and proposes a series of sensible policies designed to immediately improve the situation. The report dominated headlines in The Daily News, on WNYC, and across a host of other media outlets.

Street Practice: Changing the Lens on Poverty and Public Assistance

Our book, Street Practice, provides a front-line, grassroots perspective on innovative research practices of nonprofit organizations involved in poverty relief services in New York City. The book explores the manner in which organizations bridge the gap between research and policy advocacy. In addition, Street Practice includes an account of the ways in which research contributes to alleviating or solving a community problem, as well as details on successes and failures of advocacy work, research, funding and political resistance. Readers will also find compelling examples of social change in action and models for research and policy advocacy that can be applied in other urban areas. 

Case Closed

This research report focuses on individuals’ efforts to acquire and retain public assistance in New York City (NYC) by documenting and examining the process of righting errors, and explaining acts of program noncompliance by public assistance recipients and applicants.


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The Safety Net Project does not conduct client intake at our Rector Street Office. For information about our services and walk-in clinics, check out our legal clinic schedules.