Good Thinking

The New York Times (registration required) reports today that the Bloomberg administration plans to offer $24 million in cash incentives to encourage poor New Yorkers to take positive steps like staying in school and enrolling in parenting classes. The cash payments would range anywhere from $50 to $1,500.

There's a lot to recommend in this approach. For one thing, it recognizes the importance of incentives in motivating behavior -- an issue that we've grappled with at Bronx Community Solutions. For example, we recently learned that over half of participants who accept a voluntary referral to a job training program don't show up for their appointment. For them, a small amount of cash might be enough to make the difference. Second, the approach itself is targeted, measurable and achievable. It's a far cry from articulating sweeping and unrealistic goals, which may be rhetorically satisfying but rarely leads to concrete action.


Anonymous said…
Hey Aubrey,

I found your website while looking for something else and lingered b/c CCI is doing such great stuff. I love the stepstreets project.

Meanwhile, your post on Bloomberg's plans reminded me of another cash-so-you'll-do-what-we-think-you-should-do-anyway program, formerly called C.R.A.C.K and now renamed a more generic "Project Prevention." They are in California (maybe LA) and they pay drug addicted women in cash (I think $200) to get IUDs or shots or tied tubes; something which will prevent pregnancy over time. Interesting, controversial, and successful - depending on your POV.

Anyway, great to see what you're up to and I hope all's well by you -

Liz O'Connor
Anonymous said…
Hmm. So an economically depressed drug-addicted woman's reproductive system is worth $200. It's interesting that program is only offered in the "poor" areas of LA, yet we encourage people with means to procreate, as evidenced by the number of profitable IVF centers.

I find all of this, including all these projects to help the "community," really condescending.

Perhaps if BCS really wanted to work with the "community," it would use the time they spend cozying up to the NYPD and the DA's office and find out exactly why it is that Black men on Boston Road find their rights to be free of unlawful searches and seizures abrogated, while the Fendi purses of people of lighter persuasions on Madison and 53rd don't experience any police intrusion.

Your program needs to stop with the patronizing.
Anonymous said…

What you need to do, is first, read your facts. BCS has been around for only two years, and has help dramatically reduce petty crimes; something that citizens like YOU aren't appriciative. Second, this program has opened doors for ex-criminals to change their way of life. Criminals that are affected by these programs, actually want to go on to Obtain thier GED and go on to College.(BCS) They are not cozying with cops. Maybe if you can point to another group to blame other then, people who break thier backs for thier community, maybe you can stop being such a snob. Wait, do you even live in Boston Road??? Do you put in work just like these people?? Are you in your right mind??.. I think your comment was naive. Stop trying to portray this " Black Power...Grr, i'm Mad concept" and pay attention.... I've been clean from heroin for one year and a half..DO you know addiction and oppression like i do, soilder??? I am afraid not!!!..

So Before i finish this...