Unaffordable housing is one of the leading causes of soaring food bank use rates in Canada’s largest city. A recent study by Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest Food Bank reveals nearly two million visits to Toronto food banks in the past 12 months. It’s the city’s highest number of visits ever recorded. Last year there were 1.45 million visits to Toronto food banks in 2021.
Low incomes, inflation and high housing costs are the city’s driving factors of crisis-level food bank use. “Month after month, we keep seeing the impact of insufficient incomes, combined with inflation and rising costs of living, lead to record-breaking numbers,” says Neil Hetherington, the CEO of the Daily Bread Food Bank.
“The need for food banks is at crisis levels with no signs of slowing down. Food banks are seeing more new clients each month, and those visiting are experiencing severe levels of food insecurity. On average, they are also younger and more likely to be employed.”
More Employed Folks Are Relying on Food Banks
The staggering cost of housing is a common issue for food bank clients. “87% of food bank clients live in unaffordable housing. As defined by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, this means they are paying 30% or more of their income on housing, compared to 45% of residents overall in Toronto.”
The report also states that Toronto’s high rents absorb an unbearable percentage of people’s incomes. In fact, 33 % of food bank clients are employed, while 18% use all of their income on housing.
Toronto Rental Costs Continue to Soar
Meanwhile, rent prices in Toronto have continued to rise in 2022. As stated in the October 2022 National Rent Report from Rentals.ca and Bullpen Research & Consulting, Torontonians are spending nearly 30% more on rental costs than they did in 2021.
Currently, the average cost of a one-bedroom rental is $2,474, and $3,361 for a two-bedroom in Toronto. Moving outside the city limits, such as neighbouring Etobicoke, will offer people only slightly more savings. The average rental cost for a one-bedroom is $2,137 for a one-bedroom and $2,818 for a two-bedroom comparatively.
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