YCDC’s Lisa Hurley to Present at Healthy Families, Strong Communities in Lincoln
28 Nov 2022
Lisa Hurley, York County Development Corporation’s Executive Director, is presenting at a conference on the well-being of Nebraskans. Healthy Families, Strong Communities will occur on December 7, 2022, at the Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln. Jake Owens, York County Health Coalition’s Executive Director, will be co-presenting and discussing how York County is moving key initiatives forward. They will talk about some of the outcomes of YCDC’s Local Foods Local Places (LFLP) planning initiative, and how things continue to move forward in different areas since the 2020 plan was developed.
As an economic development director, Hurley sees improving the well-being of residents as critical for addressing workforce shortages and issues such as absenteeism. “It’s important for private industry to buy in on community well-being initiatives. A healthy community equals a healthy workforce, making it in everyone’s best interest to holistically focus on the needs of community members,” said Hurley. “The research tells us that when we improve people’s health and well-being, we take important steps to bring them out of poverty, enabling them to become more participative workers and community members. That’s why helping to bring people out of poverty is not a handout – it’s an investment in our economy and future.” On another level, YCDC has utilized this document to advocate for businesses such as McLeans Beef to provide additional access to locally grown foods.
Hurley and Owens have been working on bringing people out of poverty and improving their health for years, and their planning has led to actionable programs. During the presentation, Hurley and Owens will present ways communities can think outside the box when solving issues like food insecurity and ensuring basic needs are met. “Our approach has always been collaborative as an organization and with the community. For example, the responses from Food Access Surveys (from the LFLP plan) have informed our goals and action items,” said Owens.
Among those goals is improving coordination between local food systems vendors, growers, distributors, and community members to ensure access to healthy foods. “We learned that to activate our active services, all we needed was the right expertise in place. Federal, state, regional, and local resources - all the ingredients are in the community, but we need the right catalyst and team to direct our efforts,” said Owens. An example of coordination was the creation of the neighborhood Food Library that is installed near the York Housing Authority. Two more will be coming in the coming months.
In addition to food access, Hurley and Owens are focused on providing ways for community members to exercise and stay fit. The Four Corners Health Department partnered with YCDC for a DHHS walkability technical assistance grant that was included in the planning documents for the $15.6 million RAISE Grant for Project Access York which will increase trail access and install a pedestrian overpass. “York’s trail improvement program is a catalytic project for York County. This is a central access point for people who live in the area, including at the mission. Over 1,000 people work at this intersection, including students and people in entry-level service positions. Once complete, they will have safe access to a trail system, making it easy to walk, run or ride a bike to and from work and school, or in their leisure time,” said Hurley. “This is a game changer for our resident’s quality of life and for visitors who are staying in hotels.”
Addressing food insecurity and making it easier for residents to stay active is part of their plan to bring York County’s residents out of poverty. “Ensuring residents have the proper training to succeed in our workforce is also a top priority item for YCDC and YCHC. We are also focused on housing and childcare – two key issues for ensuring residents can stay in the workforce once there,” said Hurley. “By working collaboratively, we can remove the barriers that are preventing some of our residents from succeeding. Private industry has a big role in this work, and I invite YCDC members and all of our businesses to join us in these efforts.”