It is clear that there are many different initiatives in Memphis that have some focus on ameliorating the deleterious effects of poverty, in various ways that address housing, health, and human services. During the January site visit, the project team and a number of different stakeholders discussed the fact that there are so many initiatives in Memphis, from a variety of funding sources (public, private, philanthropic) and which provide services from different, unconnected sources (e.g. services provided by various branches of city government, county/state government, and local non-profit or partnered service providers).
Based on conversations with stakeholders, particularly during the February site visit, we recommend a technical assistance strategy that includes two components.
1) Best Practices. It was noted that there are not only a great number of different initiatives and strategies at work in Memphis currently, but also a fairly large variety. If stakeholders agree, the Urban Institute team may be able to provide technical assistance by producing a concise review of evidence pointing to the most effective strategies for supporting high-needs communities and facilitating robust economic development. This work could help local government agencies and funders decide where to focus their efforts and how best to coordinate. This work would primarily consist of a review of public administration, social science, and economic literature. Again, this work would generate a report that we could circulate to the various stakeholders involved in service provision.
2) Relocatee Focus Groups. Focus groups with HOPE VI relocatees in neighborhoods around the city in order to better understand their service needs, awareness of existing services, and views about existing service providers. These focus groups will also provide perspective on the interests and concerns of high-needs assisted housing populations living outside of the city center. The research team will present this information to service provider stakeholders and assist them in using these data together with geographic data sources in order to better target their efforts to help HOPE VI relocatees in Memphis.
While the data used in producing this memo provide a partial picture of service use and needs, these focus groups would be essential in gaining a richer understanding of the most important needs of newly dispersed former public housing residents, how geography affects their service access, and how their needs relate to the available services and current initiatives in Memphis. We currently intend to conduct three focus groups, each in a different area of the city.
"Memphis Final Brief.pdf" (pdf, 717.21Kb)
"Appendix A-Focus Group Materials.pdf" (pdf, 174.61Kb)
"Appendix B-Maps.pdf" (pdf, 3.81Mb)