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Cover page of Asian American Businesses: The Impacts of Anti-Asian Racism, 2021

Asian American Businesses: The Impacts of Anti-Asian Racism, 2021

(2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had enormous economic and social impacts. The pandemic also created social problems, particularly the rise of anti-Asian hate. Restaurants and shops in Chinatown were among the first to feel the effects, with owners witnessing a decline as early as February 2020. The origins of the pandemic and anti-Asian racism were very much centered around false beliefs that Chinese American businesses, particularly those in Chinatowns, were a source for the spread of the disease. Given continuing anti-Asian incidents, it is critically important that we have effective strategies and policies to ensure that Asian American businesses are safe places.

This brief is organized into three parts: (1) Prevalence, Causes and Nature of Anti-Asian Racism; (2) Commonalities Among Impacted Asian American Businesses; and (3) Intersection with Personal and Family Anti-Asian Impacts. The brief also includes a preliminary analysis of findings from the ABA Pandemic Survey conducted by the Asian Business Association of Los Angeles, and the findings were published in collaboration with UCLA CNK and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. A report with policy recommendations is forthcoming.

Cover page of Keeping the Stove On: COVID-19 and Utility Debt

Keeping the Stove On: COVID-19 and Utility Debt

(2021)

New research from UCLA Luskin collaborators finds that gas bill debt—unpaid bills for heating and cooking gas—is unevenly distributed among many Californians. The report, coauthored by the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge in partnership with the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) and the Luskin Center for Innovation, highlights the extent and consequences of this debt.

The study reveals clear patterns of inequity: neighborhoods with high gas bill debt rates also have higher poverty rates, lower incomes, more renters than homeowners, and higher proportions of Black and Latinx residents than the average neighborhood served by SoCalGas.

“When higher-income households stop using gas, lower-income households may be saddled with higher and higher gas costs,” said Dr. González. “It is essential to make electrification equitable, which means households don’t get left behind or stuck with increasingly unmanageable energy costs.”

This study is the third and final in a series examining utility debt inequity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous policy briefs focused on unpaid utility bills among Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers.

Cover page of Asian American Businesses: Identifying Gaps and Supporting Recovery 2021

Asian American Businesses: Identifying Gaps and Supporting Recovery 2021

(2021)

It is critically important that we have effective strategies and policies to ensure that Asian American businesses are able to thrive in the recovery era. To better understand how the pandemic affected Asian American businesses and their needs during the economic recovery, the Asian Business Association of Los Angeles surveyed businesses across the Southern California region. The survey collected information on business characteristics, owner characteristics, pandemic impacts, applying for and receiving assistance, and needs for recovery. This brief is a preliminary analysis of survey findings as of August 2021. A report with policy recommendations is forthcoming.

Cover page of Potential Differential Undercount in 2020 Census Redistricting Data: Los Angeles County, California

Potential Differential Undercount in 2020 Census Redistricting Data: Los Angeles County, California

(2021)

This Factsheet summarizes the findings from a comparison of population counts for Los Angeles County from the 2020 data for political redistricting (P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data or PL94) and the 2015-19 American Community Survey (ACS). The Census Bureau conducts an enumeration of the population every decade and compiles the information to assist local officials to redraw political boundaries in response to population changes to ensure that electoral districts are equal in population size. While the goal for every decennial census is a complete and accurate count, it has never been perfect, both missing some individuals and double counting others.2 One serious problem with miscounting is a differential undercount, where the enumeration systematically undercounts some populations and overcounts other populations. That is, the inaccuracies are not proportionately the same across groups. This problem has profound implications within the redistricting process, essentially disenfranchising those missed by the census and undermining the “one person, one vote” principle. There are also economic consequences because governmental allocation formulas are based on population. Differential undercount is deeply embedded in and shaped by existing structures of inequality. It is, therefore, not surprising that historically low-income persons and people of color are disproportionately missed by the enumeration, thus disproportionately undercounted.

Cover page of The Lens: HIV Prevalence and COVID-19 Vulnerabilities: A Data Mapping Tool

The Lens: HIV Prevalence and COVID-19 Vulnerabilities: A Data Mapping Tool

(2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed concerns about social and structural factors related to health disparities, including those related to HIV. As a partial response to an urgent need to understand whether elevated risk of COVID-19 disease and mortality among persons living with HIV (PLWH) results from related risk behaviors, a higher burden of comorbidities, and/or social determinants of health, the Lens was created by the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge in partnership with the Southern California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center. 

The Lens: HIV Prevalence and COVID-19 Vulnerabilities data-mapping tool (Lens) can help decision-makers, community-based organizations and other stakeholders to access critical neighborhood-level information about the intersection of socio-economic and health vulnerabilities and HIV. The Lens portal also contains information on COVID-19 case rates for counties where such information is available. We hope this information helps guide overstretched public health and health systems in recasting, prioritizing, and improving HIV prevention and treatment services in the time of COVID. 

The authors thank the California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS for their input. The authors also thank UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge staff and Chhandara Pech for their support. Lastly, we thank Joana Munoz for designing and laying out this report. Funding for this project was provided by the California HIV/AIDS Research Program.

Cover page of Keeping the Lights and Heat On: COVID-19 Utility Debt 

Keeping the Lights and Heat On: COVID-19 Utility Debt 

(2021)

In this brief, we study household utility debt burden as another measure of the economic pressure facing low-income neighborhoods, with an emphasis on the impacts on racial equity. We define utility debt burden in this brief as the share of households in arrears (i.e., with past-due utility bills) within a zip code. Our findings highlight the reproduction of racial and economic inequality during the pandemic. We use data from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), an investor-owned utility that provides electricity and gas service to much of the population in Northern and Central California, about 40% of the state’s residents, to examine the prevalence and degree of residential past-due accounts and debt. Utility debt levels serve as a useful proxy to track households that are facing difficulties paying their rent or mortgage, because these two types of debt are likely to be highly correlated during economic crises.

Overall, our focus on neighborhoods enables elected officials to understand how utility debt relief distribution impacts their constituents; encourages advocacy for an equitable distribution of utility debt relief that is on its way from the federal stimulus and state budget surplus aid; and informs thoughtful long-term solutions as we move into a phase of recovery.

Cover page of The COVID-19 Pandemic Housing Crisis: Identifying Owner-Vulnerable Neighborhoods in California 

The COVID-19 Pandemic Housing Crisis: Identifying Owner-Vulnerable Neighborhoods in California 

(2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had enormous economic impacts, including creating financial difficulties for many homeowners. While foreclosures have been lower during the public health crisis, primarily due to the current moratorium in place, many homeowners are still receiving pre-foreclosure notices with a disproportionate share going to disadvantaged communities. Many analysts and housing advocates fear that there will be a new wave of home losses once temporary protections.

This brief outlines the development of an Owner Vulnerability Index (OVI) to assist public agencies and community organizations in implementing homeowner protection policies and any COVID-19 mortgage relief programs and to help identify those neighborhoods with the most at-risk homeowners. The OVI is a useful analytical and policy tool for identifying and prioritizing neighborhoods at higher risk of foreclosure to preserve homeownership and promote neighborhood stabilization.

The project developed an interactive web map of the OVI for California. The web map is accessible at: https://arcg.is/1zTfnu

This report was made possible by the generous support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate’s Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Program in Real Estate, Finance and Urban Economics.

Cover page of COVID-19 Death and Vaccination Rates for Latinos in New York City

COVID-19 Death and Vaccination Rates for Latinos in New York City

(2021)

Done in collaboration with the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, this report compares the overall Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) death and vaccination rates of Latinos and non-Hispanic whites (NH Whites) and describes the geographic pattern of these rates across neighborhoods in New York City (NYC). As the first major epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, NYC is an important case study. During the initial three months of the pandemic, there were 203,000 confirmed cases with a crude fatality rate of 9.2 percent overall and 32.1 percent among those hospitalized. NYC is home to 2.6 percent of the nation’s population, but 5.7 percent of the nation’s COVID-related deaths occurred there.

The available data on the pandemic reveal that Latinos were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 infections, hospitalization, and deaths. Given this disparity, prioritizing this population for vaccination is critically important. The effort should focus on immunizing individuals in predominantly Latino neighborhoods to lower contagion risk, given that elevated risks are associated with both individual and neighborhood characteristics. To assess whether vaccines are adequately reaching this population, we analyze available data to compare outcomes for Latinos and NH Whites (see Appendix on the pdf of the report for a more detailed discussion on specific data and methods).

Cover page of Keeping the Lights and Water On: COVID-19 and Utility Debt in Los Angeles’ Communities of Color 

Keeping the Lights and Water On: COVID-19 and Utility Debt in Los Angeles’ Communities of Color 

(2021)

A new report authored by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and Center for Neighborhood Knowledge measures the extent of utility debt accumulation among customers served by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. 

 

Disparities in unpaid bills predate COVID-19 but have deepened since the pandemic’s outbreak. Using data from a November 2020 California State Water Resources Control Board survey, the researchers found one-quarter to one-third of all Los Angeles households faced financial difficulties paying for their utilities. 

 

“We didn’t expect the magnitude to be this big,” said Silvia R. González, co-author of the study and a senior researcher at the Luskin Center for Innovation. “For many families, this means choosing between keeping their lights on or skipping meals or medical treatment.”

 

The debt burden is unevenly distributed across Los Angeles — 64% of the population in severely affected neighborhoods are Latino. Black communities also face disproportionate debt, and racial disparities persist even after accounting for socioeconomic characteristics. Further, the study found that lower-income neighborhoods, residents with limited English proficiency and renters face unequal debt burdens. 

 

Early on in the pandemic, Governor Newsom suspended water and energy utility shut-offs, which has provided continued utility access for households in California. But accumulating debt has not been forgiven, and this crisis will need to be resolved once the suspension is lifted. 

 

Researchers said they hope to guide policymakers and utility operators in formulating targeted debt-relief programs, and calls for financial support from COVID-19-related aid to ensure that vulnerable Angelenos will still have access to water and energy after the pandemic.  

 

“We need an equitable relief plan,” said González. “These communities are already historically underserved areas and they’ve been left behind more broadly during the pandemic. These debts will be impossible for many families to repay.”

  • 1 supplemental PDF
Cover page of Crisis to Impact: Reflecting on a Decade of Housing Counseling Services in Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities

Crisis to Impact: Reflecting on a Decade of Housing Counseling Services in Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities

(2021)

National CAPACD, in partnership with the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, jointly announce the release of Crisis to Impact: Reflecting on a Decade of Housing Counseling Services in Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities. The research examines the state of housing for low-income AAPIs since the Great Recession and offers valuable insights on housing counseling services that can mitigate the anticipated wave of displacement of low-income communities of color from their homes as a result of the current economic crisis.

Findings from the report show that pre-pandemic, one in four AAPIs paid more than half of their income towards housing costs compared to whites (16 percent), placing many on the edge of financial vulnerability. Asian and NHOPI borrowers within the study area (seven metropolitan statistical areas that comprise one-third of the nation’s total AAPI population) were also more likely than whites to take out mortgages that cost four to five times more than their household incomes. These startling statistics illustrate the extent to which AAPI households are severely cost burdened as a result of living in some of the nation’s most expensive housing markets. The current economic crisis will only exacerbate the financial challenges faced by these severely cost burdened households, 54% of whom are limited English proficient and who have limited access to culturally and linguistically relevant services.