Despite having an affordable home, many Mercy Housing residents worry about having enough food. Last fall Mercy Housing collected data on resident food security status for the first time, providing a quantitative look into a serious issue for individuals and families. We found that an astounding 57% of households in the Mountain Plains region indicated food insecurity. Nationally, only about 32% of households living below the federal poverty level are food insecure using the same survey questions.
Across the Mountain Plains region, our Resident Services team is tackling the issue from many different angles. As part of our commitment to collaboration and efficiency, we partner with local food banks and food delivery programs. When space is available we set up onsite food pantries that, in some places, offer fresh food and non-perishables, as well as hygiene items. In many properties, we work with residents to create community gardens — residents have fresh produce, it’s a learning tool, and a good source of physical activity and community involvement.