NLIHC, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), and the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign sent a letter on September 21 urging the Biden administration to ensure that the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health focuses on the underlying causes of hunger, including America’s homelessness and rental housing affordability crisis. The letter states that a national strategy to end hunger must include universal rental assistance for every eligible household, significant investments to preserve and increase the supply of homes affordable to people with the lowest incomes, permanent resources to prevent eviction and homelessness, and robust renter protections to help keep renters stably housed.
Millions of households across the country face impossible choices each day between paying rent and meeting their other basic needs, such as buying groceries and taking care of their health. Extremely low-income renters have little if any money available for other necessities after paying their rents because, as Pulitzer prize-winning sociologist Matthew Desmond has said, “the rent eats first.” Renters with extremely low incomes are often forced to prioritize shelter over other needs, with the lowest-income, severely cost-burdened renters spending 38% less on food and 70% less on healthcare than their peers without cost burdens in 2020.
The letter explains that access to affordable housing provides families with more available income to buy adequate and nutritious food. A growing body of research finds that federal housing assistance helps protect children from hunger and buffers families from food insecurity and other health risks. Children’s HealthWatch found that compared to families on a waitlist for assistance, children living in subsidized housing are more likely to be food secure, less likely to be seriously underweight, and more likely to be classified as “well” on a composite indicator of child health. Furthermore, the combination of housing subsidies with nutrition assistance has been shown to improve housing security.
The letter emphasizes that any national strategy to address hunger must include the need for large-scale, sustained investments and reforms to ensure that renters with the lowest incomes have affordable places to call home and can afford to buy adequate and nutritious food. Ending hunger requires expanding proven housing solutions – including Housing Choice Vouchers, the national Housing Trust Fund, and public housing – to help the lowest-income and most marginalized families pay rent and make ends meet.
Read the letter at: https://bit.ly/3QVANUY