Research of various forms is inherent in all of NYC Opportunity's work. Understanding client perspectives, programmatic best practices and demographic conditions are all central to initiatives, digital products, and policies that are evidence driven and responsive to the needs of low-income New Yorkers. Our poverty research team also produces the annual official poverty measure of the New York City government (the NYCgov measure), one that provides a more nuanced understanding of poverty in New York City than the federal rate allows. Our poverty research also informs the City's understanding of inequality and the effectiveness of policies in addressing disparities among local residents and communities.
Our goal for service design is simple: we aim to make public services as effective and accessible as possible for New Yorkers. For a program, product, policy or service to be effective, many factors come into play — the context in which it operates; the value that potential clients perceive to their lives; daily processes and workflows; staff skills and perspectives; clarity of communications; and, physical environments, among them. When developing new anti-poverty interventions or working with partners to enhance existing services, we blend participatory, human-centered approaches with a commitment to drawing on research and evidence about what works.
NYC Opportunity develops and manages a portfolio of citywide digital products that help the City address poverty-related challenges. These include public-facing services as well as tools for City staff to better serve clients. The digital product team conducts user research, creates user experiences, and works closely with internal and outside technology teams to prototype, develop, and set ongoing strategy for these digital services.
Our data integration work helps City agencies deliver more effective, holistic services to the right people at the right time, targeting support to those who can most benefit. By facilitating cross-agency data sharing, NYC Opportunity helps policy leaders, case workers and others better coordinate the delivery of resources and support to individuals and families across bureaucratic silos.
NYC Opportunity helps agencies and partners design programs and implement them using all of the tools at our disposal from research to data integration. We engage in program management and performance monitoring for the programs within our portfolio, and help partners develop appropriate performance monitoring metrics for their programs and initiatives. Additionally, NYC Opportunity works with independent evaluation firms to assess the effectiveness of programs within our portfolio and select citywide initiatives. For each initiative, a distinct evaluation strategy is developed, reflecting the availability of extant data, implementation status, the timing of expected program outcomes, and general knowledge about a particular intervention. These evaluations inform New York City’s program and budget decision-making, and contribute to public policy in the social services more generally.