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 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.


Hotel rooms may continue being used to house those experiencing homelessness

September 11, 2020 – Families

Booking hotel rooms is one of the strategies state and local governments have been using to provide safe housing for people experiencing homelessness during COVID-19. This strategy had been used in the past where shelter space was insufficient, and it became especially effective in the pandemic context since it allows for proper social distancing. Given the success of this approach and the grim prospects in tourism for the foreseeable future, some argue that hotel rooms could be acquired as more permanent housing for those in need. In some cases, this could look like long-term contracts with hotels, in other cases it could be the outright public purchase of distressed hotels. #covid-19 #homelessness

New ‘dark store’ retail model could support food access and businesses

September 11, 2020 – Families, Seniors

Whole Foods recently opened its first purposely online-only store in Brooklyn. This ‘dark store’ will not be open for shoppers, but instead will operate as a hub for packing online orders for delivery or pickup. Other retailers are converting existing stores into dark stores to keep up with increasing demand for online shopping and as a lifeline for stores that have been struggling. Although demand for online shopping options has been growing, the pandemic has accelerated this trend. Expanded online shopping and delivery gives consumers not only convenience but critical food access, especially for seniors, people with disabilities, and anyone who cannot shop in person during the pandemic. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

Racial-ethnic gaps in self-rated health among rural residents

September 10, 2020 – Families

A new article published in the Journal of Community Health explores differences in self-rated health among rural residents by race and ethnicity. Using data from the 2011-2017 National Health Interview Survey, the researchers examined self-reported health by race/ethnicity and other socio-demographic characteristics such as educational attainment and marital status. Black and American Indian (Indigenous) rural residents were found to report significantly worse health than white counterparts. That is, 25.8 percent of Black rural residents and 20.8 percent of American Indian rural residents reported having fair or poor health, compared to only 14.8 percent of white rural residents. These findings highlight the importance of recognizing that rural spaces are not exempt from health disparities that stem from structural racism. #racialequity #rural

Young workers face high unemployment during the pandemic

September 10, 2020 – Older Youth

Brookings authors explore unemployment among young workers during the COVID-19-related recession. Authors find that while young workers are always disproportionately affected in recessions, the present recession is hitting them harder than usual. Young workers were more likely to be laid off and were more likely to be working in service industries that faced pandemic-induced shut downs. While overall unemployment rates increased by 11.2 percentage points from February to April 2020, unemployment rates for young workers ages 16- 19 increased by 20.9 percentage points over this same period. Black and Hispanic young workers and young workers with less education (in particular, those with a high school degree or less) had even higher unemployment rates. #covid-19 #workforce #racialequity

Maine Data Glimpse: July 2020 Unemployment

September 9, 2020 – Families

This Data Glimpse describes Maine’s unemployment situation in July, drawing on new data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on August 21, 2020. For the most timely indicator— weekly initial unemployment insurance claims—data are available for Maine through August 15, 2020.

Federal policies to support neighborhood opportunity and inclusion for families

September 9, 2020 – Families

The Urban Institute’s Opportunity for All project recently published a series of briefs on improving opportunity and inclusion in neighborhoods to promote the well-being of families and their children. In the brief “Creating Places of Opportunity for All,” experts and community leaders use a place-based framework to present federal policy strategies for addressing the equity gaps that racist policies have created and perpetuated. In particular, authors call for policy changes to address racial and income segregation such as investing in assts in distressed neighborhoods, preserving affordable housing, preventing displacement brought on by revitalization or market pressures, and removing barriers to expand access to well-resourced neighborhoods. #racialequity

Immigrant-owned food startups get creative to stay afloat during the pandemic

September 8, 2020 – Families

A new article from nonprofit news organization Civil Eats explores the effects of the pandemic on immigrant-led food startups, many of whom are small businesses selling culinarily diverse frozen or prepared foods, building meal kits, or catering. During the pandemic, sell foods to school districts for school meals programs or to food relief programs has been a viable option for some food start ups. For example, after campus closures interrupted a deal between start up Meal Mantra and Boston College to provide curries for their cafeteria menu, the startup was able to sell some of their already-produced curries at cost to the city of Boston’s food relief program. Other entrepreneurs echoed the sentiment to figure out where the sales are and focus on staying afloat during these challenging times. #covid-19 #workforce

New food relief initiative in Vermont successful in supporting rural communities

September 8, 2020 – Families

In early August, Vermont started a food relief initiative called Vermont Everyone Eats! which pays local restaurants to supply meals to residents in need. Volunteers help hand out meals to those in need, who line up at drive-through style distribution sites. The program was first rolled out in the town of Brattleboro, where about 650 meals are provided per day. The program was started using CARES Act funds and they are considering expanding to other rural communities. Ten percent of the food that restaurants prepare must be from local farms, which helps support those businesses as well. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #rural

New Hampshire farmers markets plan how to continue business through the winter

September 7, 2020 – Families

As colder weather approaches, farmers market organizers consider how to continue operating warmly and safely. The New Hampshire Business Review reports that many of the small venders rely heavily on the markets and might not be able to stay in business through the winter without them. Outdoor farmers markets have been relatively easy to adapt to COVID-19 regulations, but the indoor winter markets will need to reduce capacity and vendors to allow space for social distancing. Further, some of the usual locations for winter markets, such as schools, are not currently allowing non-essential guests. Some market operators, such as New Hampshire’s Seacoast Eat Local, will host indoor winter farmers markets at its regular venues but will limit capacity to 50 percent. Another proposed alternative is to expand existing mobile markets during the winter. #covid-19 #workforce #foodsecurity

College communities experience rise in COVID-19 cases as the fall semester begins

September 6, 2020 – Older Youth

As feared, a New York Times review finds that many college towns have seen a spike in COVID-19 infections as students return. Specifically, the 203 U.S. counties where students make up at least 10 percent of the population have seen a steady rise in cases since early August. Further, about half of those counties have experienced their highest caseloads of the pandemic since August 1. The positive news is that the surge in cases has not been accompanied by an increase in deaths in these counties. #covid-19

Persistent labor market challenges spell trouble for disadvantaged households

September 4, 2020 – Families

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities finds that despite positive job growth in the past several months, the “jobs hole” from March and April has not been repaired. State and local government job losses (including in education) account for about 10% of these losses, while broader losses are clustered among workers in low-wage industries and without a bachelor’s degree. The pandemic has also exacerbated racial-ethnic gaps in unemployment by hitting hardest the industries in which workers of color are clustered. The report concludes by urging the federal government to further supplement unemployment compensation for workers facing serious and enduring hardship. #covid-19 #workforce #racialequity

Federal Reserve of Boston finds unemployment worse than in Great Recession

September 3, 2020 – Families

New research from the Federal Reserve Bank compares pandemic-era initial and continued unemployment claims for the U.S. and New England with those from the Great Recession. The authors find that the level of initial claims in the pandemic had exceeded those in the entire 79-week-long Great Recession in just 12 weeks (that is, by May 30) nationally, and in just 10 weeks in New England. Levels of continuing unemployment insurance claims are three to four times larger than in the Great Recession in New England. The research also found that women, younger workers, and those in personal care or food service occupations were more likely to file ongoing claims. #covid-19 #workforce