The Mel King Institute report library houses research reports and policy briefs relevant to the community development sector from organizations all over the country.

  • Author: Boston Area Research Initiative, Center for Survey Research, Boston Public Health Commission | Year: 2021

    In the summer of 2020, the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) at Northeastern

    University, the Center for Survey Research (CSR) at University of Massachusetts Boston,

    and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) conducted a survey among 1626

    Bostonians about their experiences of during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic,

    including: their ability and tendency to follow social distancing recommendations; attitudes

    toward regulations; and the economic and personal impacts of the pandemic. In the fall, we

    followed up with an additional web-based and mailed survey that asked about continued

    employment, plans for getting the vaccine, mental health, and respondents’ perceptions

    about life in their neighborhood.

    This fifth report in a series describes Boston respondents’ intentions to get the COVID-19

    vaccine, when available. In a mail and web-based survey conducted in the September 2020,

    we asked if respondents plan to get vaccinated—definitely, probably, probably not, or

    definitely not. In this report, we explore personal characteristics associated with

    Bostonians’ hesitancy to get the vaccine (probably not/definitely not). We also provide

    information about which respondents are definitely planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

    This information may help identify people who are reluctant to get the vaccine and assist

    efforts to tailor messages to Boston residents who have reservations about the coronavirus


  • Author: Callie Clark and Clark Ziegler | Year: 2021

    In Massachusetts, we are now facing two housing crises. One involves the hundreds of thousands of renters in the Commonwealth who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, have been without income and struggling to pay their rent, and face possible eviction if the situation continues. The other involves the thousands of individuals and families who lose their housing every year because they can’t afford it.

  • Author: Dionissi Aliprantis, Hal Martin, and Kristen Tauber | Year: 2020

    There is currently interest in crafting public housing policy that combats, rather than contributes to, the residential segregation in American cities. One such policy is the Housing Mobility Program (HMP), which aims to help people move from disinvested neighborhoods to ones with more opportunities. This paper studies how design features influence the success of HMPs in reducing racial segregation. We find that the choice of neighborhood opportunity index used to define the opportunity areas to which participants are encouraged to move has limited influence on HMP success. In contrast, we find that three design features have large effects on HMP success: 1) whether the geographic scope is confined to the central city or is implemented as a metro-level partnership; 2) whether the eligibility criteria are race-based, race-conscious, or race-neutral; 3) whether tenant counseling, tenant search assistance, and landlord outreach are successful in relaxing rental housing supply constraints.

  • Author: Hanna Love and Mike Powe | Year: 2020

    The COVID-19 small business crisis is prolonged and uneven, inflicting a disproportionate toll on microbusinesses in underserved communities that are the lifeblood of their local economies. While much attention has been paid to small business closures in urban communities across the country, the same dynamic is unfolding in underserved rural areas, with dire consequences.

    To understand the effectiveness of rural downtown revitalization heading into the COVID-19 recession—and its potential for promoting rural recovery and resilience—this brief examines these efforts’ impact on rural small business growth, development, and success. As part of a five-part series, it draws from on-the-ground research in three rural communities just prior to the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak to highlight key lessons learned and point to the policy and capacity-building supports needed to sustain, improve, and scale downtown revitalization strategies amid the pandemic recession and beyond.