April 3, 2017 – Hamilton’s lowest income households are facing a crisis in affordable housing.
Hamilton Food Share’s February food bank statistics from neighborhoods across the city show that 80% of food bank users, the poorest members of our community, are spending 50-100% of their monthly income on rent. This is a sharp increase from March 2016 when 49% of food bank users reported spending more than 50% of their monthly income on rent. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a household that pays more than 50% of their income on rent is at extreme risk of homelessness.
In February 2017, local food banks had 19,561 visits per month, 38% by children. 75% of all households accessing a food bank that month didn’t live in social housing but paid market rent.
“More people face unaffordable rent increases and the terrible choice between keeping a roof over head or feeding the family” said Joanne Santucci, Executive Director of Hamilton Food Share, “our city needs to take action right now with a major investment in social housing and help for families or more Hamiltonians will experience a crisis of homelessness.”
To that end, Hamilton Food Share is calling upon City Councilors to take an unprecedented step toward ending homelessness by supporting the $50 million Poverty Reduction Investment Plan being presented to Council on April 5th.
Hamilton Food Share is a not-for-profit that gathers more than 2.5 million pounds of food (including more than 1 million pounds of fresh food) annually from food producers, farmers, and area food drives. It is the food distribution hub of the emergency food sector in Hamilton representing 11 organizations and 103 programs that support people in need in our community including food banks at Hamilton Salvation Army, Dundas Salvation Army, Good Shepherd, Mission Services, Welcome Inn, Stoney Creek Community Food Bank, Neighbour2Neighbour, Wesley Urban, the Native Women’s Centre, and two locations at St. Matthew’s House.
Hamilton Food Share also collects detailed statistics to produce the yearly Hunger Count, a city-wide snapshot of who is using food banks each March, the data from which is released to the public in June.
Joanne Santucci has led Hamilton Food Share for 25 years. She is also a single mom who grew up in Hamilton’s East End.
For more information:
Celeste Taylor, Hamilton Food Share
tel. 905.664.9065 x227