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West Coast Poverty Center

West Coast Poverty Center


Call for Applications: 2020-21 WCPC Dissertation Fellowship Competition

We invite applications from doctoral students at the University of Washington for the 2020-21 West Coast Poverty Center Dissertation Research Fellowship competition.  These one-quarter awards will support outstanding doctoral student dissertation research on poverty, poverty-related issues, and anti-poverty policy in the U.S. during Summer (or Spring) 2021. Doctoral candidates from any discipline may apply, but all applicants must be sponsored by a WCPC Faculty Affiliate. Applications must be submitted by 10:00 am on January 12, 2021. Learn more about the dissertation fellowship HERE.

Poverty Forecast for Washington State amid COVID-19 Crisis

How will the pandemic affect poverty rates in Washington State?  WCPC Director Jennie Romich and UW graduate student Ellie Terry recently examined what may happen to poverty rates in Washington State as a result of the Covid-19-related unemployment.  In April, Washington’s unemployment rate stood at 15.4%. If the relationship between poverty and unemployment maintains its recent historical relationship, this means that the state's official poverty rate may soon stand at 15% with 3 in 10 Washingtonians falling below the broader poverty indicator favored by Governor Inslee’s Poverty Reduction Work Group. Read the full memo HERE.

2020 Mini-Grant Awards Support Joint Academic-Practitioner Research Projects

We are pleased to announce that we are funding three collaborative mini-grant projects in 2020.

  • Katherine Beckett (Law, Societies, and Justice) will build on an existing relationship with the Public Defenders Association to study a local program (CO-LEAD) to provide housing and supports to justice-involved individuals otherwise facing homelessness. In addition to better understanding the needs and circumstances of the jail-involved, unstably housed population during the current pandemic, the team will explore what the experiences of these clients reveal about the social investments that might be necessary to complement decarceration efforts.
  • Rachel Fyall (Evans School of Public Policy and Governance) and Matt Fowle will be working with the Tenants Union to understand the experiences of low-income renters during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the impacts on tenants’ housing security over the course of the crisis and their reports about the extent to which landlords comply with eviction moratoria and other policies seeking to reduce the likelihood of eviction.
  • Lynne Manzo (Department of Landscape Architecture) will be working with Wa Na Wari to document the pressing challenges, needs, and concerns of Black homeowners and artists in continuing to live, work, create and build community in the Central District and hear how they would prioritize addressing them. In particular, the team seeks to learn what adaptive models of ownership and cultural place-making Black homeowners and artists are interested in exploring.

These grants are possible because of support from the Seattle Foundation.  Projects are expected to run until March 2020.

Income gains for many, but no change in poverty rates for Seattle and King County in the latest American Community Survey data

According to new Census data for 2018, poverty rates for Seattle and King County (11.0% and 9.3% respectively) remain statistically unchanged since 2017, despite rising median incomes in Washington state.

Read the full press release here.