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.

 

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

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

Food insecurity up after relief measure wane

October 27, 2020 – Families

New research from the Urban Institute using its Coronavirus Tracking Survey finds that food insecurity increased by two percentage points between May and September, landing at 19.6 percent. The authors suggest that emergency SNAP allotments, stimulus payments, and unemployment compensation all served to keep food insecurity down through the spring and summer. Household where the respondent or their spouse or partner lost a job reported the highest rates of food insecurity, at 37 percent in September. Household food insecurity rates also remain much higher for Black adults (28.2 percent) and Hispanic/Latinx adults (30.5 percent) than for white adults (14.7 percent)—a pattern consistent throughout the pandemic. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #racialequity

4 in 10 Children Live in a Household Struggling to Afford Basics

October 21, 2020 – General

CBPP reports that more than 4 in 10 children live in households that struggle to meet usual household expenses, our analysis of Census Bureau data released today finds. Along with other data showing that hardship has significantly worsened due to COVID-19 and the recession that it spurred, the figures underscore the need for policymakers to agree on a strong, bipartisan economic relief package. An estimated 42 percent of children live in households that reported it was somewhat or very difficult to cover expenses such as food, rent or mortgage, car payments, medical expenses, or student loans, according to CBPP analysis of detailed data collected from September 16 to 28 from Census’ Household Pulse Survey. By contrast, 27 percent of adults in households without children reported that it was somewhat or very difficult to cover expenses. Between 7 and 11 million children live in a household where children didn’t eat enough because the household couldn’t afford it. The detailed data allow a closer look at the hardship findings that Census released on October 7, which showed hardship rates for adults from September 16 to 28. CBPP's analysis focuses on children, whose hardship rates for that period are higher. Hardship can inflict lasting harm on children’s health and education, studies show. #foodsecurity #covid-19

County priorities include both economic and public health aspects in pandemic recovery

October 20, 2020 – Families

The National Association of Counties (NACo) released a new report summarizing the concerns and priorities of county leaders regarding COVID-19 recovery. While counties face diverse challenges, 64 percent counties reported that the pandemic’s health and economic impacts are of equal concern. Areas of top concern are individual and small business financial relief, disproportionate impacts on communities of color, unemployment, health impacts beyond the virus (like mental health), access to food and housing, and more federal funding programs to assist with recovery. County leaders identified a range of county needs going forward, including gap funding to make up for lost revenues, funding with fewer strings attached, improved broadband, and opportunities to share best practices among counties and to create new partnerships. #covid-19 #mentalhealth #foodsecurity

Hunger relief nonprofit uses technology to connect people with SNAP

October 15, 2020 – Families

Forbes highlights a technology-based nonprofit called mRelief that works to minimize enrollment hassle for those apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The technology includes web, voice, and text platforms that screen people for SNAP eligibility with far fewer questions than required by formal applications directly through the state. The service provides straightforward support for enrollment and retention in the programs, and in the COVID context, can reduce pressures on state and local charitable systems (like food banks) while capturing more federal dollars for eligible families. The company has served 870,000 families across all 50 states. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

During COVID-19, 1 in 5 Latino and Black Households with Children Are Food Insufficient

October 7, 2020 – General

THe HIspanic Research Center reports that many Latino and Black households with children are struggling to obtain enough food to feed their families during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing recession. According to data from the Household Pulse Survey, 19 percent of Hispanic households and 22 percent of Black households with children experienced food insufficiency this summer, compared with 9 percent of White households with children. Food insufficiency means that a household sometimes or often did not have enough food to eat in the past week. And racial or ethnic disparities in employment do not fully explain the differential risk in food hardship: Hispanic and Black households with children in which the respondent did not work due to COVID-19 were more likely to experience food insufficiency than comparable White households (Hispanic: 28%; Black: 30%; White: 20%), suggesting that employment status is only part of the picture. #racialequity #foodsecurity #covid-19 #workforce