The Effects of Hunger and Food Insecurity on Housing Stability

In the United States, 12% of households (15.6 million households) are estimated to be food insecure. Food insecurity is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” Here in Portland, where JOIN proudly serves, this condition occurs in just over 16% of the population, higher than the national average. JOIN is dedicated to working with individuals and families to combat food insecurity and transition into permanent housing.

Each year, JOIN helps 900 people – including over 300 children in families – transition from homelessness to permanent housing. Once individuals and families have transitioned into their new home, JOIN’s Housing Retention Team makes thousands of home visits each year and provides new households with a myriad of post-placement supportive services to ensure housing success and stability. 80% of the people we serve find long-term housing stability, which is higher than the community average.

JOIN’s Healthy Food Boxes Program is one important component of our Housing Retention services. It addresses a critical aspect of fostering long-term housing stability: combating hunger. For too many of the households with whom JOIN works, food resources from SNAP benefits (food stamps) and food pantries are inadequate to make fresh, healthy and culturally appropriate meals for their family throughout the month.

To address this need, JOIN’s Housing Retention Team delivers food boxes to approximately 40-50 households per month who have recently transitioned from homelessness to a home. The fact that the majority of the households with whom we work are constantly faced with the choice to either pay rent and bills or purchase groceries brings to the fore the vital role that food security plays in housing stability.

JOIN’s strong collaboration with the Oregon Food Bank provides us with weekly access to bulk amounts of food, allowing us to pack and deliver approximately 40-50 boxes of food each month at a low cost. However, these resources are not always adequate and we often utilize flexible funds to supplement with other groceries.

If you are interested in supporting our mission to ensure long-term housing for those experiencing homelessness, and provide much needed food assistance, donate today!