Royce Shook

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Food Bank Hunger Report 2019

Please support your local Foodbank, they still need your help. The following is from their report 2019

Despite a bleak situation, there is some good news

Foodbank use has stabilized, with the number of visits in 2019 approximately the same as they were in 2018. This year, total food bank visits reported across the food bank network in Canada in March 2019 was 1,084,386. While still a shockingly high number of foodbank visits for one month, it is 1 percent lower than it was last year.

This corresponds to strong economic indicators such as low unemployment rates. When unemployment rates are low, the working-age population is generally able to access more employment income, which makes needing a food bank less likely.

Foodbank visits for March 2019 are now approximately the same level as they were in 2010. In the aftermath of the recession, unemployment rates were at their peak throughout 2009 and early 2010.

For many individuals, accessing food banks were the last resort after severance, E.I. and savings had run out. Foodbank visits saw the full effect of this in March of 2011 when there were over 1.2 million visits that month, a 14 percent jump over the prior year. Visits remained high and then saw a gradual decrease from 2015 onward, with numbers stabilizing over the last year. This decline has corresponded to a decline in unemployment rates over the same period,

The percentage of children accessing food banks has been slowly declining, and now represents 34.1 percent of all food bank clients, whereas in 2010 they were 37.2%. An improving economy, combined with federal and provincial tax benefits for families with children, has been helping to slowly increase incomes of these households and maybe having an impact on these results.

During this period, Food Banks Canada, along with others, had advocated for an improved child benefit system at the federal level. The creation of the Canada Child Benefit in 2016 was the outcome of this work, and helped to further the progress in refining and improving our system of child benefits in Canada.

Those who are less likely to be able to work due to disability or retirement age – those who receive provincial disability support or pension as their main source of income has increased from 21 percent in 2010 to over 26 percent in 2019. Both groups are struggling with rapidly rising costs of living, along with the increased costs that accompany greater health care needs.

Seniors 65 and over have been the fastest rising age group accessing food banks. Those receiving disability support as their main source of income are contending with incomes that haven’t grown with inflation and often don’t cover basic household expenses.

The increasing cost of housing nationwide and the lack of rent geared to income units have been other factors that have been driving the demand for food banks. Those living in market rent housing have increased as a proportion of visits versus those in social (rent- geared to income) housing. 70 percent of clients live in market rental housing, up from 60 percent in 2010. Those living in social housing have decreased from 25.6% to 14.4%.

The effects of skyrocketing rental markets have been spilling over from outside urban areas and into smaller towns and recent investments in affordable housing units have not yet been able to address the massive demand.


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