Philadelphia bears a particularly unwanted moniker among American cities: the poorest large city in the country. In recent years, Philadelphia lawmakers have recognized and sought to remedy this status, in part by addressing the systemic barriers that prevent people from accessing crucial public benefits and tax credits. A notable effort to make inroads in this area over the past two years has been The Promise, a public-private partnership between the city of Philadelphia and United Way.
My team at the Urban Institute recently evaluated The Promise’s Family Stability Challenge initiative, which promotes collaboration between community-based organizations that help Philadelphians by providing various personalized assistance to those accessing benefits and tax credits. Our findings show that public benefit navigators funded through Family Stability Challenge are crucial for the many Philadelphians who are entitled to public benefits and tax credits but face insurmountable barriers in accessing them.