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Materials from 2020 Team Up, Take Action

Please note, we have uploaded the videos from this year's TUTA event to our YouTube channel. Go here to view the sessions.

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Day 2
Day 3

Team Up, Take Action 2020 Q&A

Panel: States Stepping Up to Address Housing and Food Insecurity

Q: For any of these surveys, will your sampling allow you to disaggregate the data by low-income or minority populations?

A (Farryl Bertmann): Yes, it will; we have conducted preliminary analysis on demographics, included in the released brief and we are in the process of analyzing the data more closely to investigate variables that significantly impact both low-income and BIPOC Vermont HH. 

Q: How does the NFACT findings for VT compare to other parts of the country?

A (Farryl Bertmann): Great question. Next week we are releasing our national NFACT briefs, and the home institution is working with their communication team for this release, so unfortunately I can not offer a preview. You will find state-level comparisons here. We will also post the forthcoming nation data on this website as well. Our team has been awarded funding to run larger multi-state data comparisons with the help of our UVM SEGS lab, and as the other 15 states release their findings, we will conduct a cross-state comparison.

Q: It seems like the mobile food drives have been really popular. Is this model more highly utilized than our regular food pantries and food shelves; are these drives supplemental for the same families, or reaching a different population?

A (Eileen Groll Liponis): We consider them supplemental and hitting both existing end clients and new folks. Our regular distribution to agencies is around 14 million pounds, and of that less than 200,000 pounds were mobile food pantries (MFP). Pre-COVID, we’d do 5-10 MFPs a year. To date we’ve had 50 mobile food pantries, and after updating our numbers since the conference, we’ve served close to 20,000 families, or almost 1.5 million pounds of food. The demand continues to rise, and we are planning to continue the MFPs through December and into the winter to help meet the demand.

Q: Many businesses are expected to continue to have a greater emphasis on work from home even after COVID-19 with less need for office space. Is it possible that increased availability of vacant offices space could decompress the housing market with conversion of large business spaces to residences?

A (Tamira Martel): This is an interesting idea to consider. Zoning changes would likely need to be made in most communities to allow for this change. More importantly, there would need to be a financial incentive for developers to convert office space into residential units that would be affordable for moderate- and low-income renters and/or homeowners. In the more “urban” areas of Vermont where this situation would likely be in place the cost of real estate development, ACT 250 reviews and taxes typically pushes a property owner to develop higher-end or luxury units to recoup their costs.

Q: Many businesses are expected to continue to have a greater emphasis on work from home even after COVID-19 with less need for office space. Is it possible that increased availability of vacant offices space could decompress the housing market with conversion of large business spaces to residences?

A (Ben Frost): This is something that we’re very interested in, but it will take some time to sort out. We’ll need to develop an understanding of how much commercial space is being vacated, then develop ideas for the two following critical issues:

  1. Design concepts and guidelines for repurposing commercial space for residential uses; this is not an easy thing to do, as much of the modern commercial space has relied on separating the consumer from the outside world – meaning that there are no windows and buildings are not designed with that in mind. Residential building standards are also a lot more prescriptive, because people are living (awake and asleep) in the spaces, as opposed to just working in them or visiting them.
  2. Regulatory changes, particularly local land use codes; zoning is based on the separation of so-called “incompatible” uses, so where retail has been developed over the past several decades is not deemed suitable for residential occupancy; until the municipalities in charge deem it to be suitable, that is and make appropriate changes to their codes.

Breakout Session #2: Keeping Food on the Table: Community Collaborations to Meet COVID-19 Food Insecurity Challenges

Q: Were there families taking advantage of the food pick-ups who were not part of free/reduced lunch? Curious about reaching families who were not previously utilizing food programs.  

A (John Sayles): We know through a survey that early on about 40% of the people accessing food had not used the charitable food system before. We don’t know the free/reduced lunch status of families, however. Also, I don’t believe there is data around how many families are picking up at schools who aren’t getting free/reduced meals.

Q: Does the experience of the Vermont Foodbank support the recent findings in data from UVM showing large increases in food insecurity during the pandemic? 

A (John Sayles): Very much so. The number reported by food shelves and meal sites, combined with the Farmers to Families and increases in foodbank direct distributions, supports the UVM numbers.

Lobbying and Advocacy: A Primer for NH Non-Profits

"Focus on Food Insecurity in the Granite State" Webinar

Public Health Career Panel Webinar

The slides from this webinar are here. The recording is available here.

Materials from the 2019 Fall Forum

Miscellaneous 2018 Materials

Materials from the 2014 Annual Meeting

Materials from the 2014 Fall Forum