Panel Paper: New York City’s Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity: Local Policy Innovation One Decade Later

Friday, November 9, 2018
Lincoln 3 - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Matt Klein, New York City Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity

The Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) uses evidence and innovation to reduce poverty and increase equity. NYC Opportunity advances research, data and design in the City’s program and policy development, service delivery, and budget decisions. Its work includes analyzing existing anti-poverty approaches, developing new interventions, facilitating the sharing of data across City agencies, and rigorously assessing the impact of key initiatives. NYC Opportunity manages a discrete fund and works collaboratively with City agencies to design, test and oversee new programs and digital products. It also produce research and analysis of poverty and social conditions, including its annual Poverty Measure, which provides a more accurate and comprehensive picture of poverty in New York City than the federal rate. Part of the Mayor’s Office of Operations, NYC Opportunity is active in supporting the de Blasio administration’s priority to make equity a core governing principle across all agencies.

Mayor de Blasio formed NYC Opportunity as the merger of two previously separate units in the Mayor’s Office – the Center for Economic Opportunity and HHS-Connect. The Center was originally created in 2006 as a municipal innovation lab to launch and assess anti-poverty interventions. Its initial program and poverty research agenda was based on the recommendations of the Commission for Economic Opportunity. HHS-Connect was established in 2008 to support more effective health and human service delivery with technology and data-sharing tools. Under Mayor de Blasio, both units evolved to support additional citywide functions and the combined office now supports a broad portfolio of initiatives.

This presentation will provide a perspective as one of the first municipal innovation offices and discuss how NYC Opportunity has evolved its antipoverty efforts over the past 11 years. This will include discussion of how its scope has expanded and changed in response to emerging needs, which should provide perspective on starting new innovation labs or scaling up that exist, but are in more nascent stages of development. The presentation will also share key learnings from both successes and the challenges faced in this work.