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U-M Poverty Solutions Impact Report: A testament to partners, progress in Detroit

ANN ARBOR—A growing partnership on economic mobility with the city of Detroit, a new collaboration with Harvard University, community voices, policy impact and student engagement are among the highlights in the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions impact report released today.

The report includes efforts at Poverty Solutions that have led to concrete policy changes based on data and evidence, including changes in the way that Detroit Community Schools collects data on homelessness and housing stability, and a partnership on the evaluation of a new policy in the city related to keeping renters in their homes.

The report also details progress on the Partnership on Economic Mobility between U-M’s Poverty Solutions initiative and the city of Detroit Mayor’s Office, which includes an expanding list of projects, new staff embedded in city hall and a fellowship program.

The fellows, recent graduates embedded in city departments, are helping the city to pursue strategic initiatives focused on core economic mobility goals.

“This fellowship program is helping us increase our ability to reach more residents in need of greater access to affordable housing, the internet and youth employment,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We appreciate this collaboration with the University of Michigan and the work it is doing to expand economic opportunity to all Detroiters.”

Partnership projects have also paired dozens of U-M experts with the leadership of city departments including health, workforce, housing and revitalization, jobs and economy, and more.

“In our collaboration with the University of Michigan, Poverty Solutions has demonstrated a thoughtful and robust approach to community engagement. They’ve shown how Detroiters can and should be engaged throughout the research process,”

said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, director and health officer for the Detroit Health Department and one of several partner voices featured in the Poverty Solutions report.

In addition to deepening the partnership and progress in Detroit, the Poverty Solutions report highlights the initiative’s impact across the university, and engagement with students, the state and nation. Highlights include:

  • Attracting more than $8 million in external funding since its 2016 founding for important projects happening across the university.
  • Supporting nearly 30 projects in 15 of U-M’s schools and colleges.
  • Providing policy insights on student homelessness and early childhood education for the state of Michigan.
  • Launching a new partnership with Harvard University on economic mobility data analysis.
  • Growing opportunities for students engagement, including a new speaker series course.

“Our work aims to address the most pressing economic mobility challenges of our time,” said H. Luke Shaefer, director of Poverty Solutions and associate professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and School of Social Work. “Progress is only made because we do it together—through partnerships at U-M, and with community, policymakers and practitioners across the state and nation.”

Launched in 2016, Poverty Solutions is a university-wide effort to explore and test models to ease the effects of poverty and broadly share that knowledge, while working with community groups and supporting active-learning options for students.

Poverty Solutions Impact Report (PDF) (Webpage)