1 in 8 Households Suffer From Food Insecurity
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit wants action on food insecurity and they’re urging Bracebridge council to back them up.
Jane Shrestha of the Health Unit spoke to Bracebridge councilors during their general committee meeting on Tuesday. She summed up food insecurity as essentially not having enough money to provide food.
She informed councilors that one in eight households in Simcoe Muskoka suffer from food insecurity. That number translates to roughly 70,000 people.
The number of people facing food insecurity in the region has remained more or less static since they’ve kept records, she said, indicated the current strategy simply isn’t working.
Shrestha said the problem isn’t as much about lack of food, as it is lack of money. While food banks combat urgent needs they do little to address the underlying financial issues many face.
Not addressing the issue can have considerable impacts on a community, she said. One in three people hospitalized for mental health issues also face health security issues, she said. The average cost to taxpayers for healthcare per household is $1,600 per year, she said, but for those facing food insecurity the number jumps to $4,000.
She encouraged councilors to pursue issues like affordable housing and asked them to petition the province to take steps like the continuation of the basic income pilot, which has been on the chopping block since the last provincial election.