Our office evolved from its origins in two separate but related mayoral units – the Center for Economic Opportunity and HHS-Connect. The Center for Economic Opportunity began with a primary focus to develop and test new anti-poverty programs. The initial program and poverty research agenda was established with the creation of the 2006 Commission for Economic Opportunity. The Center launched soon after the release of the Commission's recommendations in order to implement their ideas. At about the same time, HHS-Connect was created to use data and technology to more holistically support clients of the City's health and human services.
Housed in the Mayor's Office of Operations since 2014, the Center for Economic Opportunity and HHS-Connect evolved from focusing primarily on their own pilot programs and individual technical tools to helping support the City's overall efforts to reduce poverty and achieve more equitable policy results. The two units merged in 2017. NYC Opportunity now continues to oversee a portfolio of programs and products directly also while supporting individual agencies and signature cross-agency initiatives with research, evaluation, service design, digital products and data integration.
We believe that equal opportunity and the possibility of upward mobility must be genuine - that where you start out in life should not dictate where you end up. But too often poverty and social conditions create barriers for New Yorkers that limit their ability to advance and participate fully in the city's economic and civic life. We work to create a more equitable city, where all residents can take advantage of resources, support and opportunities they need to fulfill their full potential.
We believe that the public sector should make decisions based on rigorous attention to data - drawn from research and evaluation, performance measurement, and the voices of those who experience public services as well as the challenges they are meant to address. Policies and programs exist which can effectively reduce poverty and broaden opportunity; government should invest in those that work, and end those that do not. We support and promote evidence-based policy making in New York City and beyond.
We believe that more solutions are required to address unmet needs and stubborn problems - and are optimistic that new approaches delivered through government can achieve large-scale impact. Innovation is fundamentally about getting better results, and demands a commitment to assess outcomes rigorously, capture and respond to lessons, and accept the risk that some efforts will fail. We serve as a proving ground to influence how government addresses poverty and its related challenges.