Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Food Banks Canada welcomes key federal budget commitments to extend affordable housing and homelessness programs

TORONTO, March 26, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Food Banks Canada is encouraged by the federal government's 2013 budget commitment to maintain funding for affordable housing and homelessness programs which are critical strategies in addressing poverty and hunger in Canada as recommended in Food Banks Canada's HungerCount 2012 report.

Each year, food banks across the country report that the cost of housing is the main reason why close to 900,000 Canadians a month seek help from a food bank. The federal government announcement that it will extend the funding for another five years of the Affordable Housing framework and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, as well as funding earmarked for new housing in Nunavut over the next two years, highlights the fact that these initiatives are imperative to ensure stability for people and communities in need.

"Too many people in Canada are forced to choose between paying their rent or feeding their families." says Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. "Programs such as these are essential to maintain and expand in order to reduce the need for food banks in the future."

Across the food bank network, local food banks raised the concern that the uncertainty related to the future funding of these two key programs could affect the ability of communities to effectively implement housing initiatives and put more people at risk of losing their housing. Food Banks Canada recognized the importance of these programs for Canadians in need and made it a priority policy recommendation for the government to ensure funding beyond 2014.

Budget 2013 also introduced the creation of the First-Time Donor's Super Credit to encourage more Canadians to give to charity. The proposed Super Credit would increase the Charitable Tax Credit for donations made by individuals who have not claimed the credit since 2007.

"The Super Credit will provide an enticing opportunity for more Canadians to donate to their local food bank if they haven't already done so." said Katharine Schmidt. "Food banks across the country continue to struggle to raise enough money to keep their doors open. We believe this credit is a step in the right direction to provide food banks with a new tool with which to seek out new donors."

Food Banks Canada has developed a number of other policy recommendations and will continue to work closely with the government to address high levels of household food insecurity and take steps to reverse the trend of rising food bank use. Other key actions include better training opportunities for those who don't qualify for Employment Insurance and better pensions for seniors.

For more information about the HungerCount 2012 report, please visit: www.foodbankscanada.ca/hungercount

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our Members, Affiliate Member food banks, and their respective agencies serve approximately 85% of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short-term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger. Please visit www.foodbankscanada.ca for more information.