The 2016 Food Banks Canada national HungerCount results are mirrored in our community:
Children continue to make up a large proportion of people helped by food banks.
While a large percentage of those helped are on social assistance, a significant number are working.
- 36% of the 31,400 people in Waterloo Region needing food support are 18 and under
- 17% are working or on EI (recently working)
- 34% receive social assistance
- 30% receive disability benefits
Single people who live alone continue to increase as a percentage of those helped.In Waterloo Region single person households rose from 27% of those needing food support in 2013 to 50% in 2016.
Immigrants, refugees, and people who identify as First Nations, Metis or Inuit are populations of particular concern in many regions.More than 1200 new Syrian-Canadians have been welcomed to Waterloo Region in the past year. The Food Bank has provided food starter kits for 200 households to help them transition from shelters to their own homes. The Food Bank expects to help an additional 500 people are anticipated to arrive in Waterloo Region before the end of the year. Many programs within our network are helping these newest neighbours to become settled and acclimatized to their new home country.
HungerCount 2016 shows that the demographic characteristics (household type, primary source of income, housing type) of those receiving help has remained similar to previous years.
Food bank use remains unacceptably high because there are too few well-paying jobs; inadequate supports for people unable to work; and inadequate training to prepare low-skilled Canadians for well-paying jobs.
We support Food Banks Canada's recommendations for a national poverty reduction strategy to be in place, supported by sufficient resources, by Fall 2017 and for changes to be made to social assistance to move us closer to a basic liveable income in Canada. We are also in favour of development of a tax credit for food manufacturers and retailers so these donors would receive a benefit for choosing to donate their products to food banks.
To see Hunger Count archives from 2006-2015, please click here.