Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit www.jtgfoundation.org/resources/covid-19 or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.

 

American Rescue Plan Act enhances food assistance in response to high food hardship

March 29, 2021 – Families

A new report authored by prominent food scholars details the investments and expansions to food assistance programs included in the American Rescue Plan Act. Some of the major components include allowing states to continue the Pandemic-EBT program over the summer, extending the SNAP benefit increase, increased funding to states for the administrative costs of higher SNAP demand, investment in improving the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and targeted support for Puerto Rico and select U.S. territories. The temporary 15 percent SNAP maximum benefit increase, which was set to end June 30, has been extended through September 2021. This extension will impact an estimated 154,000 SNAP participants in Maine, and Maine will receive an additional $3.9 million for addressing increased SNAP state administrative expenses for fiscal years 2021-2023. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #Maine

Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships

March 29, 2021 – General

Joblessness remains high and millions report that their households did not get enough to eat or are not caught up on rent payments. CBPP has been able to track the extent of this hardship thanks to nearly real-time data from several sources on the unfolding economic crisis. The impacts of the pandemic and the economic fallout have been widespread, but are particularly prevalent among Black, Latino, Indigenous, and immigrant households. These disproportionate impacts reflect harsh, longstanding inequities — often stemming from structural racism — in education, employment, housing, and health care that the current crisis is exacerbating. The American Rescue Plan Act, is projected to dramatically begin reducing poverty and narrowing disparities by race. Any reduction in hardship, particularly among children, would be a hopeful step for the country. Households with children face especially high hardship rates and considerable evidence suggests that reducing childhood hardship and poverty would yield improvements in education and health, higher productivity and earnings, less incarceration, and other lasting benefits to children and society. #covid-19 #economy #housing #foodsecurity #racialequity #edcuation

Charitable Food Use Increased Nearly 50 Percent from 2019 to 2020

March 16, 2021 – General

In this brief, Urban Institute uses data from the December 2020 round of the Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS), a nationally representative survey of more than 7,500 adults ages 18 to 64, to examine charitable food use (defined as the use of free groceries or free meals) this past year compared with use in 2019 as well as how use of assistance in 2020 varies across demographic groups. Findings include adults’ reported household use of charitable food in the past 12 months grew almost 50 percent between December 2019 and December 2020 and adults who identify as Black or Hispanic/Latinx were almost three times more likely than white adults to report accessing charitable food during 2020. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #racialequity

How states can use new Pandemic Emergency Assistance funds to support low-income families

March 11, 2021 – Families

The American Rescue Plan Act designated $1 billion for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through a Pandemic Emergency Assistance fund. States will have some flexibility on how they use Pandemic Emergency Assistance funds, as long as the funding is used for non-recurrent benefits for no more than four months. In particular, this means that states cannot use these funds for regular monthly TANF benefits. A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities policy expert details four ways that states could use these funds to support low-income families. Perhaps most straightforward, states could provide a one-time extra cash payment to TANF families. The other three strategies intend to reach families who are not currently connected to TANF, including a one-time cash payment to low-income SNAP households with children; a new worker-relief fund for short-term payments to replace lost income; or funds for families ineligible for other programs but experiencing crises like rental arrears. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

Temporary SNAP extension will enhance access for college students

March 4, 2021 – Older Youth

Despite elevated rates of food insecurity among college students, strict eligibility criteria have meant low participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Typically, in order to be eligible for SNAP, students must attend college at least half time, work 20 or more hours per week, and meet income and other qualifications. However, as a part of its December pandemic relief efforts, Congress passed two temporary exemptions specific to college students enrolled at least half time. These temporarily extend SNAP eligibility to those who are also eligible for federal or state work-study and those with an Expected Family Contribution of $0 for the academic year, regardless of employment. State agencies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations are working to inform students of these changes. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #education

Schoolwide free-meal programs fuel better classroom outcomes for students

February 11, 2021 – General

Even before the pandemic brought food insecurity to alarming levels, hunger and insufficient nutritional access were acute concerns for many families. In 2019, nearly 14% of families with children experienced food insecurity. Previous work has shown that greater nutritional assistance through programs like SNAP and the school meals program can reduce food insecurity and improve nutritional intake. Yet, prior work on how free school meals affect student performance has reached mixed conclusions. Brookings describes some new findings about the impact of free meals on students, using recent administrative changes that expanded schoolwide programs. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #education

Immigrant Families Continued Avoiding the Safety Net during the COVID-19 Crisis

February 1, 2021 – General

In its first days in office, the Biden administration has already moved to reverse many of the Trump administration’s immigration policies that created a climate of fear and insecurity for many immigrant families. The prior administration’s changes to the “public charge” rule intensified immigrant families’ reluctance to participate in public benefit programs and supports that address basic health, nutrition, and housing needs. In this fact sheet, Urban Institute uses newly available data from their December 2020 Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey to estimate chilling effects on public program participation because of green card concerns and because of broader immigration concerns among adults in immigrant families. The continued chilling effects experienced by immigrant families in 2020 are alarming in the context of the pandemic, during which people of color, many of whom are part of immigrant families, have disproportionately experienced economic and health hardships. #covid-19 #racialequity #foodsecurity #housing

For struggling families, December’s COVID relief package came just in time

January 8, 2021 – Families

New analysis of the Census Household Pulse Survey from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities documents steep increases in family hardship since the end of summer. By mid-December, 14 percent of adults reported that their household didn’t have enough to eat in the last 7 days, representing two million more adults in this situation in December than in late November. In addition, 38 percent of adults said it was difficult to pay households expenses in the past seven days, representing 13 million more adults than in August. The author suggests that elevated levels of hardship may relate to the dwindling effects of earlier-passed relief efforts, and consistently inadequate supports for nutrition and housing assistance. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

School meal delivery offers teachers difficult glimpse into students’ living arrangements

January 3, 2021 – Older Youth

An article from USA Today documents a sobering side effect to school systems’ conversion to school meal drop off models in the pandemic: often for the first time, school staff and educators saw firsthand their students’ living conditions. While teachers delivering meals in rural Illinois were shocked and troubled to find students living without indoor plumbing, electricity, and windows, they also found that seeing students’ home lives prepared them to better support those learners. In addition, parents noted that seeing school staff during meal drop-off provided a sense of “normalcy” amid the upheaval of the pandemic. #covid-19 #education #foodsecurity

Only 44 percent of households with children were very confident about affording food

November 18, 2020 – Families

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) published an analysis of fall 2020 data (August 19 – October 26) from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. The author found that, nationally, only 44 percent of households with children reported that they were “very confident” about affording necessary food over the next four weeks. About 10 percent of households with children were “not at all confident.” The author estimated that between 7 and 11 million children live in a household where there was not enough to eat in the past week. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

Research on seniors in rural areas finds isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity

November 16, 2020 – Seniors

New research from Indiana University finds that isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity among older adults in rural areas. Data were collected via public convenings and a survey of 5,000 households in lower income census tracts in four rural counties of Indiana. Results showed that seniors living alone felt less motivated to prepare balanced meals and found less enjoyment in eating. Seniors who lived and ate with family members or ate in congregate settings reported higher enjoyment of meals, a diffused (and therefore decreased) burden of food acquisition, and increased motivation to eat better. These results are especially salient, given additional findings that the share of seniors feeling isolated has risen steeply, from 7 percent pre-pandemic to 61 percent at present. Findings also echo many previous studies in noting that SNAP and other nutrition programs that require paperwork or travel present barriers to participation. Researchers suggest that a ride-share network could be a cost-effective way to enhance seniors’ access to food sources and programs, although safe implementation in times of social distancing is complicated. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #rural

Food insecurity high among emerging adults from Minnesota

November 11, 2020 – Older Youth

New research published in Public Health Nutrition examined the impacts of COVID on emerging adults’ food insecurity (mean age = 24), and on how food security status is linked to other experiences among this population. The authors found elevated rates of food insecurity in this group, and that food insecure participants were less likely to report having fresh produce at home, were more likely to report frequent fast food consumption, and were more likely to feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods. Participants identified more food assistance and relief funds as important supports for their health. The study recruited participants from an earlier longitudinal study of Minnesota young people (in secondary school in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in 2010 to 2018), for participation in an online survey. (Respondents were more diverse in income and racial-ethnic identity than the overall population of that region). #covid-19 #foodsecurity