USDA Publishes Econometrica Report About Pilot to Help Schools Access Fruits and Vegetables for School Meals

USDA Publishes Econometrica Report About Pilot to Help Schools Access Fruits and Vegetables for School Meals

Evaluation of Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables

Econometrica conducted a mixed-methods evaluation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Pilot Project for the Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables. In this Pilot project, participating States and school food authorities used their USDA Foods National School Lunch Program entitlement funds to procure unprocessed fruits and vegetables for school meals from any USDA Pilot-authorized vendor.

Econometrica used administrative data and data from interviews with State Distributing Agency officials to describe the fruits and vegetables purchased and States’ experiences with the Pilot. Econometrica also compared Pilot purchase data to USDA Foods and USDA Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (USDA DoD Fresh) data to better understand how States used the Pilot.

USDA selected the following eight States for the Pilot: California, Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The key findings of the Evaluation of Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables are published on the USDA’s website.

In addition to the report, Econometrica also created downloadable infographics with data from each Pilot State.

Econometrica used administrative data and data from interviews with State Distributing Agency officials to describe the fruits and vegetables purchased and States’ experiences with the Pilot.

Check out our report and downloadable infographics.

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Econometrica helps HUD-funded public housing agencies go smoke-free

Econometrica helps HUD-funded public housing agencies go smoke-free

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has worked to promote voluntary smoke-free policies in subsidized housing for many years. In December 2016, HUD published a rule that requires that all public housing agencies (PHAs) implement a smoke-free policy in their public housing units, common areas, offices, and outdoor areas by July 30, 2018. In anticipation of the rule, HUD asked Econometrica to prepare support materials for the new policy, including a guidebook, factsheets, presentations, webinars, and a digital resource library. HUD accepted all deliverables as final between April 2017 and June 2017. The guidebook, factsheets, and one webinar are currently available on the HUD website. Econometrica developed an evaluation methodology and survey instrument that HUD accepted in January 2018. Dr. Jennifer Stoloff, Jill Simmerman, Doray Sitko, Briana Alterman, and Kelly Reed-Tarry contributed to this project.

Public Housing Smoke-Free Fact Sheets

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How do grantees use federal funds to address housing issues/poverty in rural & tribal areas?

How do grantees use federal funds to address housing issues/poverty in rural & tribal areas?

From 2013 to 2015, Econometrica conducted an evaluation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Rural Innovation Fund (RIF), funded on a contractual basis with HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research. This evaluation examined how rural housing and economic development organizations have used the RIF to benefit their communities. The RIF was a competitive grant program funded by HUD; its intent was to improve the quality of housing and promote economic development in rural communities with high rates of unemployment and poverty. The evaluation described RIF relative to its predecessor program, Rural Housing and Economic development (RHED), and examined RIF leveraging and grant impacts. Both the RIF and the RHED programs gave special attention to rural and underserved, high-needs areas such as Native American communities, the lower Mississippi Delta, Appalachian Regional Commission distressed counties, and the colonias and farmworker communities.

The study team performed an evaluation of the RIF program that incorporated a wide variety of data collection efforts, including stakeholder meetings, semi-structured interviews with grantees, 15 site visits to RIF programs across the nation (including on tribal lands), administrative file review, and focus groups with rural development professionals. Three main questions guided the study:
1. What types of projects did the RIF fund?
2. How successful were grantees at leveraging additional funding?
3. What were the impacts of the larger RIF grants?

The data show that relative to RHED, the RIF favored tribal applicants more, which contributed to a lower rate of leveraging private funds. There is little evidence that the larger grants available through the RIF produced economies of scale for increased impact. Full findings and methodology information are available in the published report available at https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publications/Evaluation-of-RIF-Vol1.html.

Full findings and methodology information are available in the published report.

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