To End Hunger, We Need Affordable Housing

A new White House initiative aims to end hunger in the U.S. by 2030, using a holistic approach to address hunger and bolster economic security for families across the nation.

Ending hunger starts with housing.

In the Bay Area, the high cost of housing is the primary reason people cannot afford to feed their families. Last year, nearly half of the people coming to Sunnyvale Community Services (SCS) agency seeking financial assistance were burdened with rent that is over 90% of their income. Low-wage workers and seniors on fixed incomes must make daily choices, sacrificing medicine, education, and food just to stay housed. Without safe and affordable housing, families also lose access to healthcare, transportation, and their dignity.

Once a person becomes homeless, it’s even harder to ensure access to adequate and healthy food. Food assistance from SCS helps families use their limited resources toward paying rent and remaining housed. But the enduring pandemic coupled with inflation and continuing lay-off notices have made living in the Bay Area even more challenging. Now, more than ever, local families and seniors are just one bill away from becoming homeless.

For decades, our slogan was “Business is booming, and that’s not good.” Our food distributions are now exceeding all past records, especially for children and seniors. More than 3,000 individuals are coming for groceries each month, and our food deliveries to seniors and homebound individuals have more than doubled since the start of COVID.

In Silicon Valley, the lack of adequate housing is at the heart of food insecurity.

Feeding our neighbors is a shared responsibility, and we are encouraged that government is making the fight against hunger a priority issue in all communities. But it will take more than food distributions to end hunger. Housing and food go together. We are shining a spotlight on the urgent need for more affordable housing here in Sunnyvale and Silicon Valley, so that families and seniors here can thrive, with their basic needs met.

We will share more about our plans in the coming months. Thank you for your help in preventing homelessness and hunger in our community!

Marie Bernard
Executive Director, Sunnyvale Community Services