The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) hosted a webinar on November 16, 2023, entitled “Fighting Hunger with Housing: Actions and Updates for Advocates.” They explored the connection between a lack of housing security and food stability, and the adverse health impacts resulting from the inability to afford and access reliable food sources. Hunger and poverty are driven by economic and social hardships as well as systemic discrimination. Families with low-income rates tend to focus their spending on their rental payments which can often leave them with very little leftover for food and other necessities, perpetuating cycles and causing short- and long-term health risks both physically and mentally. Children experiencing poverty and housing insecurity lag behind their peers in education and outcomes, also exhibiting poor mental and physical health.

Black and Hispanic families are identified as far more likely to be renters, while also making up a larger percentage of all the families evicted. Parents and guardians tend to be the object of eviction notices and the youngest renters as young as 18 are being evicted at the highest rates. Contrary to belief, after losing housing people are less likely to utilize social safety nets and sometimes actually might not be eligible due to rent no longer being deducted from their salary. It is important for advocates both of housing security and access to food to come together and combat these issues due to their intrinsic nature. They are calling for an increase in affordable housing options and expansion of programs such as snap to make them more readily available and accessible. In address these issues, the disproportionate impact on Black and Hispanic families must be at the forefront of the conversation as racial inequities are a leading factor in both areas. Children need and deserve access to housing and food, this will lead to better outcomes overall.

By Pasha Ceniceros, Policy Intern