Engaging Youth with Data for COVID-19 Response and Recovery

Funder: Annie E. Casey Foundation
Contact: Kathryn Pettit kpettit@urban.org
Date: July 2020 - March 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is leading to the loss of thousands of lives, causing financial hardships for many people, battering economies for local communities.  All of this is disproportionately affecting people of color and those with low incomes. This crisis has also revealed and magnified gaps in data and information that need to be addressed for communities to take informed action in pandemic response and recovery. Communities – and the nonprofits, foundations, and governments that serve them–urgently need assistance with accessing and interpreting data for decisionmaking, as well as communicating data to the public about the patterns of COVID-19 infections and the community response efforts

With grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, NNIP Partners in Chicago, Durham, and San Antonio are using local data to guide COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in their communities. Each local project engages local youth with data to enhance the effectiveness and equity of programs, policies, and other community strategies.  Over the course of six months, the Urban Institute will coordinate learning across the three grantees and share lessons learned with the network and the field. 

Local Projects

  • Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University (Chicago): In collaboration with Communities United (CU), a grassroots, intergenerational racial justice organization, the Institute for Housing Studies (IHS) plans to engage with youth and families in five neighborhoods in Chicago to identify housing and community development challenges resulting from COVID-19. The project aims to document neighborhood conditions using local data on public and private sources, amplify the lived experiences of young people, and inform strategies to address inequities exacerbated by COVID-19. IHS and CU also plan to host virtual meetings to gain insight from youth, families, and stakeholders from across CU's five focus communities. A youth advisory board for the project will assist in refining indicators and dissemination strategies. These efforts build on CU's ongoing youth leadership development work and will result in a summary of the core issues young people and their families face related to housing insecurity and COVID-19, community fact sheets and infographics, recommendations for indicators, and a plan for adapting these data for other Chicago communities.
  • DataWorks NC (Durham): Through their project, DataWorks NC will expand community knowledge of the impacts of COVID-19 to include the perspectives of young people and spread information about evictions and eviction diversion resources to families most directly impacted by COVID-19. To staff this project, they have hired a high school student intern through Hillside New Tech High School who will focus on communicating qualitative research findings from a facilitated peer workshop in December. A graduate school intern will help design printed communications that include eviction histories, strategies to protect tenants, and fair housing contacts to disseminate in neighborhoods throughout Durham. Together, the two interns will elevate the stories and experiences of community members facing eviction during COVID-19, generate data presentations to contextualize those experiences, and expand DataWorks NC's knowledge base of policy solutions. These lessons from research and engagement will be disseminated through a new podcast featuring their high school intern and members of the full project team. This project builds upon DataWorks NC's ongoing anti-eviction work, including the "Who Owns Durham" project, which explores the corporate ownership of Durham housing.
  • Community Information Now (San Antonio): Community Information Now (CI:Now) will partner with the statewide group MOVE Texas to elevate opportunities to support young people through the City of San Antonio (COSA) $191 million COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Plan and related recovery initiatives. MOVE Texas works to engage and mobilize young people ages 18 to 30 with an emphasis on young people of color. In collaboration, CI:Now and MOVE Texas will survey young people about their priorities and needs, examine COSA recovery resources and timeline for allocations, educate young people about COSA recovery efforts, and identify short-term actions to make those efforts more responsive to the needs of young people. Through this work, CI:Now aims to increase young people's data literacy and ability to communicate their needs and priorities to COSA and the larger community. The final product will present an analysis of COSA’s recovery efforts in relation to the needs of young people for use by the media and local decisionmakers.
See all NNIP items related to the issues:
COVID-19, Youth

Participating Partners:

Institute for Housing Studies
DataWorks NC
Community Information Now (CI:Now)