November & December 2021
Dear Friends:

I am pleased to share new updates from the Price Center for Social Innovation. As we wrap up the year, I encourage you to explore the latest projects from the USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation.

As always, thank you for your interest and support of the Price Center. I can be reached directly at if you would like to connect.

Gary Painter 
Director, USC Price Center for Social Innovation
Director, Homelessness Policy Research Institute
Incentivizing Affordable Housing in
High Opportunity Areas
By Ann Owens and Rebecca Brooks Smith
Affordable housing is a critical component of providing low-income children with pathways to opportunity. The federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program (LIHTC) helps fund the development of affordable housing by providing private developers with tax credits in exchange for setting rents at an affordable level. This brief summarizes original research that examined recent policy changes to California’s LIHTC program that incentivize affordable housing production in high opportunity areas.
Website Launch:
Affordable South LA
By Sean Angst, Ph.D. Candidate
In Spring 2018, community members gathered to share their experiences around the rapidly increasing costs of living in South L.A. Residents not only voiced the obstacles they faced in meeting their basic needs, but also expressed a clear vision for the future. This site, created by Ph.D. Candidate Sean Angst provides a glimpse into the lives of tenants in South Los Angeles through their own words. This work was developed in collaboration with CDTech, Community Coalition, SCOPE, SAJE, Esperanza Community Housing, T.R.U.S.T. South LA, and led by Ph.D. candidate Sean Angst.
Designing Data Platforms for Action & Influence:
Lessons Learned From a Case Study of
Five Data Platforms
The USC Price Center for Social Innovation, in partnership with the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, hosted a virtual webinar outlining findings from their research titled “Designing Data Platforms For Action & Influence: Lessons Learned from a Case Study of Five Data Platforms.” The project was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and aimed to understand the most successful ways to communicate complex data about the social determinants of health. Researchers examined five data platforms, documenting and identifying successful engagement strategies used to drive action toward health equity. The platforms examined for this case study included the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, University of Chicago COVID Atlas, City Health Dashboard, Neighborhood Data for Social Change, and the Opportunity Atlas. The presentation identified best practices and features that enable data platforms to inform policy and practice and catalyze action towards health equity.
Social Innovation Speaker Series
Featuring Dr. Karin D. Martin
Dr. Karin D. Martin was a featured speaker in the Price Center’s Social Innovation Speaker Series. Dr. Martin is an Assistant Professor at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington, where she is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Sociology. She is a crime policy specialist whose areas of expertise are monetary sanctions, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and decision-making in the criminal legal context. Her presentation focused on the logics of monetary sanction (MS) use in the US and how they influence an individual’s experience of punishment for a criminal conviction.
Social Innovation Speaker Series:
Dr. Christopher Fox
Dr. Chris Fox is a Distinguished Fellow at the Price Center for Social Innovation. His home institution is Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is Director of the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit. Chris is an expert on evaluating public policies, public service innovation, and social investment, particularly Social Impact Bonds. He has been collaborating with the Price Center for several years, including on a book on Payment by Results and Social Impact Bonds: Outcome-based payment systems in the UK and US that was published by Policy Press/University of Chicago Press in 2018. His discussion focused on the new generation of Pay for Success and Social Impact Bonds that offer new possibilities for creating public services that embody collaborative design, flexible delivery and co-production with people who use services.
New From NDSC
New Data Story:
Energy Burden and Weatherization Across Los Angeles County
By Dan Oberle & Aileen Qin
For low-income families in Los Angeles County, energy costs are a significant financial drain. Low-income households spend on average, threefold more of their income for energy than their high-income counterparts. Low-income homeowners are more likely to occupy less efficient older homes in disrepair. Often, these homes are poorly weatherized, which can mean having insufficient insulation, air leaks around doors and windows, cracked walls or roofs, or inefficient heating and cooling systems. These households also tend to have less stable revenue streams and fewer resources to address these issues. The high upfront cost of upgrading an inefficient home further prohibits low-income homeowners from making necessary changes that could reduce utility expenditures. Energy wasted through inefficiency also contributes unnecessarily to global climate change. Although low-income households have lower per-capita energy consumption and thus contribute less to the climate crisis, they are more likely to suffer its damaging effects. The environmental justice movement has emphasized that fair treatment means that no community should bear unequal share of negative environmental outcomes. 
Upcoming Events
Social Innovation Speaker Series:
Dr. Chris Herring
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
10:00 - 11:00am
Chris Herring is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Inequality in America Initiative and Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA. His research focuses on homelessness, housing, welfare, and criminal justice in US cities. His work has been published in the American Sociological Review, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, Social Problems, City and Community, City, and numerous edited volumes. Chris’ forthcoming book, Cruel Streets, explains how San Francisco, a city at the vanguard of progressive urban politics, intensified punishment towards the unhoused amidst initiatives of criminal justice reform and shelter expansion.
Examining the Complex Social Safety Net for Low-Income Working Families
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Join the Price Center for Social Innovation and Imagine LA for a webinar on January 19, 2022 to discuss key findings from the recent report, Examining the Complex Society Safety Net for Low-Income Working Families: How Benefit Resources Respond to Increases in Wages

This report is a result of detailed research into all the social benefits (federal, state and local) available to low-income families and how the benefits react to increases in wages. The study examined the total resources families have available and identified the threshold points where the safety net may actually become a barrier towards increased economic mobility. The report shows how most families receiving social benefits will experience lengthy resource plateaus, where an increase in earned income is met with the equivalent loss of some benefit. In addition, the ecosystem of social benefits is extremely challenging to navigate and protects mainly families with extremely low incomes by providing childcare and housing benefits. Policymakers must take immediate steps to simplify and streamline the benefits infrastructure to promote economic mobility, create transparency and encourage greater use and awareness of benefits among the public, and specifically improve access to housing benefits as they are proven to be the most effective in aiding families in poverty. 

This webinar will include a research presentation on the report, as well as commentary and a panel discussion about ways to improve access to the social safety net for low-income working families in the Los Angeles region.
Media Mentions
Here Are Where Rents in Los Angeles Are Rising the Most
Outlet: Crosstown
'There's so much need:' L.A., Chicago launch country's largest guaranteed basic income programs
Outlet: NBC News
Can Homelessness be Solved by Making it Profitable?
Outlet: The Giving List
How Can Technology Help Fix the Safety Net
Outlet: The Deciders with Renee Fraser, PhD on KABC radio 790 AM
Faculty Corner
Dr. Christine Beckman, Price Family Chair in Social Innovation and Associate Director of the Price Center, published Alternatives and Complements to Rationality in C. M. Beckman (Ed.), Carnegie goes to California: Advancing and Celebrating the Work of James G. March (Research in the Sociology of Organizations). Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley.

Dr. Christine Beckman presented Mind the Gap: Bridging the humanitarian and development fields with cash-based assistance with Corinna Frey-Heger and Marian Gatzweiler at Boston University.
Job Opportunities
Project Specialist
The Homelessness Policy Research Institute (HPRI) is seeking a Project Specialist to support all day to day activities of the Institute while advancing its’ strategic vision to accelerate equitable and culturally informed solutions to homelessness in Los Angeles County by advancing knowledge and fostering transformational partnerships between research, policy and practice.
The USC Price Center for Social Innovation develops ideas and illuminates strategies to improve the quality of life for people in low-income urban communities.

Contact Megan Goulding, Head of Strategy and External Relations,
(213) 821-1761 or

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