The High Price of Poverty: How Big Banks, Wall Street, and the Minnesota Legislature Facilitate Poverty Profiteering. “Poverty profiteers” including payday lenders, pawnshops, debt collectors, and subprime auto and home loan companies have created an entire business model devoted to taking advantage of low-income Minnesotans when they reach the end of their paychecks and the bottom of their bank accounts. May 2016.
Payday Greed: How Banks and Payday Lenders Profit from Minnesotans in Need. Payday lenders made almost 400,000 loans in Minnesota last year totaling $150 million. Payday America and ACE accounted for three out of every four of these loans. Payday lending in Minnesota is regulated by the state’s Consumer Small Loan Act, which caps loan fees and amounts. However, Payday America and ACE have evaded these regulations by exploiting a loophole in the law. In order to fend off legislative changes aimed at closing that loophole and providing stronger protections to consumers, Payday America owner Brad Rixmann has become one of the biggest political donors in the state, giving almost $550,000 in the last decade. Payday America spent $300,000 on lobbying the state legislature just in 2014. Payday lenders maintain that their loans are meant to help people in a one-time emergency, but in fact payday loans often sink people deeper in debt and trap them in extremely expensive loans. The average Minnesota payday loan customer takes out ten loans a year. October 2015.
It’s About Time: The Transit Time Penalty and its Racial Implications. A well-funded and well-designed transit system helps increase access to opportunity across a region and connect residents to each other, jobs, education, grocery shopping, health care, and recreation. However a transit system that does not serve current housing, employment, and education patterns exacerbates existing racial and economic disparities. This paper focuses on the role that transit planning and funding can play in addressing one aspect of these disparities: the transit time penalty, which is the additional time required to travel between two points by public transportation compared to travel by car. (Report jointly released by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, TakeAction Minnesota, ISAIAH, and Center for Popular Democracy.) May 2015.
Rapid Health Impact Assessment of School Integration Strategies in Minnesota. Study shows that racial integration in schools leads to better health outcomes. (Report conducted by Human Impact Partners and ISAIAH in conjunction with a panel of stakeholders.) April 2013.
“The Wall Street Wrecking Ball: What Foreclosures Are Costing Minnesotans and What We Can Do About It.” Minnesotans are still reeling from the effects of the Great Recession, which brought record rates of unemployment and foreclosure and blew holes in state budgets nationwide. While it was Wall Street’s toxic lending practices and recklessness that created the economic crisis, it is Minnesota homeowners and taxpayers who are still paying the price. Across the country, dozens of states and municipalities have already banned unfair mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices and created programs that bring banks to the table with troubled homeowners to discuss alternatives to foreclosure. It’s time for Minnesota to do the same. (Report jointly released by ISAIAH, Jewish Community Action, Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy.) February, 2013.
“Expect More: How Target Chooses to Shortchange Minnesota’s Communities of Color.” Target has always been viewed as a leader in Minnesota. Unfortunately there is much behind the brand that shoppers don’t see. Target isn’t a leader in all areas of its business. Indeed, the company could choose to lead in critical ways that would improve not only Minnesota’s economy, but the daily lives of thousands of workers in our state – especially lower-wage workers of color. Despite efforts by many community-led organizations to get Target to take the lead on instituting policies that would improve the lives of these communities, Target has chosen not to take that course, refusing to admit anything is wrong. But a great deal is. (Report jointly released by TakeAction Minnesota, Centro de Trabjadores United en Lucha-CTUL, SEIU Local 26, ISAIAH, and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy.) February, 2013.
“Wasted Wealth: Why Banks Should Fix Mortgages Instead of Foreclosing On Homes” looks at a sample of recent foreclosures in Minneapolis and statewide data. The report recommends steps lenders, homeowners and all levels of government could take to reduce foreclosures and end the destructive mortgage crisis caused by reckless and predatory banking practices. (Report jointly released by ISAIAH, Jewish Community Action, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition, and Occupy Homes MN.) August, 2012.
“Lost Homes: How Housing Crisis has hit the East Side and North End of St. Paul.” The subprime mortgage meltdown has resulted in a record number of foreclosures and plunged the United States into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. St. Paul has not been immune from this crisis, and the North End and East Side neighborhoods have been hit the worst. May, 2012.
“Healthy Corridor for All Health Impact Assessment: A Community Health Impact Assessment of Transit-Oriented Development Policy in Saint Paul, Minnesota,” reveals stark obstacles such as high unemployment, large housing-cost burdens, and a speculative market faced by residents in the Central Corridor of St. Paul. Full technical report. January, 2012.
“Widening the Gap: How the Housing Crisis Deepened Racial Disparities in St. Paul and How to Fix It,” shows that minority neighborhoods have suffered from an extreme concentration of housing problems — subprime lending, foreclosures, declining home values, and vacant buildings. October, 2011.
“Shining the Light: Revealing our Choice,” a report by ISAIAH and The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Minnesota’s current public policies are not working to assure the conditions necessary for a healthy future for our State. We know this because we can measure glaring inequities along every major indicator used to measure the health of a community. This report is focused on the Twin Cities metro region. May, 2010.
“Shining the Light: Revealing our Choice in the St. Cloud Region,” a report by ISAIAH and The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Minnesota’s current public policies are not working to assure the conditions necessary for a healthy future for our State. We know this because we can measure glaring inequities along every major indicator used to measure the health of a community. This report is focused on the St. Cloud region. September, 2010.
“Shining the Light: A Practical Guide to Co-Creating Healthy Communities,” a report by ISAIAH and The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. This guide is a collection of learnings from ISAIAH leaders and organizers. We believe that the ideas contained in this document build upon the methodology and collective wisdom of community organizing and movements for social change. This field guide is intended to be a series of navigational tools that organizers and community leaders can use to help in their work for more racially and economically just communities. May, 2010.
“Equitable Recovery in Minnesota: The Transportation Opportunity.” ISAIAH, PolicyLink and the Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) are analyzing the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) transportation investments in Minnesota to determine the impacts on low-income communities and communities of color. Executive Summary. October, 2009.
“Strategic Practice For Social Transformation,” by Phillip Cryan, Grassroots Policy Project. This paper presents some of the emerging strategies that innovative social justice organizations are using to build collective power that is potentially transformative. It focuses on the evolving organizing practice of ISAIAH. August, 2011.
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy “Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing and Civic Engagement in Minnesota,” looks at data from 15 Minnesota nonprofits, including ISAIAH, which shows for every dollar invested in their advocacy and organizing work, the groups garnered $138 in benefits for Minnesota communities. September, 2009.
“Building Organizations in a Movement Moment,” by Beth Zemsky & David Mann. Many organizations are now acting to intentionally link their work to the development of a broad movement for progressive social change. The story of the faith-based organization ISAIAH illustrates a number of these actions and one organization’s attempt to respond. Social Policy, Spring-Summer, 2008.