No food, no roof?

Foodbanks, homelessness and housing; what's the link?

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A new report out today from housing charity Shelter lays bare a shocking reality foodbanks know only too well; many people are just one paycheck or unexpected bill away from being unable to afford basic essentials like food, rent and utilities.

Shelter’s research, conducted with YouGov found that:

  • Last year 44% of working families in England (3.7 million working fams) cut back on buying essential food or clothing so they could meet their rent or mortgage payments
  • 1 in 11 working parents have skipped meals
  • 1 in 5 working parents put off buying new clothes and shoes
  • Over ½ of working parents are already struggling to meet rent and mortgage payments

Adrian Curtis, Foodbank Network Director at The Trussell Trust commented on one case he had heard of recently where housing was a big factor in a referral to a foodbank.

“Just last week one of our foodbanks helped a mum, who after escaping an abusive relationship was facing eviction from her privately rented home; having to manage the bills without any help whilst she looked after her 10 week old baby had thrown her young family into financial crisis.

“Housing costs and arrears are both serious concerns for our foodbank network, and it’s vital the government improves access to appropriate advice and support. When parents are hit by something unexpected like illness or a broken boiler, housing costs can be a big factor in causing people already on a financial knife edge to run out of money and need help from a foodbank.”

What is clear from reports such as these is that tackling one part of the problem, whether food, rent or other essentials, will not end hunger and poverty.

As politicians prepare for the party conference season charities like the Trussell Trust are encouraging them to connect the dots and understand the complex factors that lead a person to needing help from a foodbank.

With that in mind, Norman Lamb MP, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tyler, Big Issue founder John Bird and Eastbourne Foodbank will be debating hunger, homelessness and housing in Brighton at our fringe event ‘No food, no roof’ on 20th September, 1pm. We hope to generate debate as to how rising hunger, homelessness and other symptoms of severe poverty can best be addressed.