Health Starts at Home – Food Security and Social Housing

Join BC Alliance for Healthy Living on December 5 from 9 am to 10:30 am

BCAHL believes that good health is determined by the context in which people live. Social housing and food security are two factors that are inextricably linked to the health and well-being of many British Columbians. But at a minimum 11% of households in BC experience food insecurity. The proportion of food insecure households in social housing is up to 7 times higher than that. For this reason, further exploration of food insecurity in social housing presents an opportunity to address a critical need for a vulnerable population group.

So how can we increase access to healthy food and remove health barriers for people in need? As usual there is not one answer, but a need for different sectors and partners to open the discussion and work together to improve health.

BCAHL is carrying forward the conversation begun by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association at their November 20th symposium, Housing and Hunger in BC

Health Starts at Home – food security and social housing will bring together three speakers on the issues to provide their different perspectives, from policy to practice at the community, regional and provincial level:

Vancouver Coastal Health recently released an Action Framework and Resource Guide for food security in social housing. Lianne Carley (Population Health, Vancouver Coastal Health) will provide an overview of food security in social housing, the strategy areas in the Guide, and why VCH considered this a priority area.

Judy Walsh is a Tenant Support Worker at the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society. She will outline how as a housing provider NAHS has developed successful programs to improve the food security of their residents. Her experience at the ground level is augmented by her PhD work in the area of food security in social housing, and as such brings a broader perspective beyond programming that spans from research issues to the policy environment.

BC Housing develops, manages and administers a wide range of subsidized housing options across the province. They partner with public and private housing providers, other levels of government and community agencies to create the best system of housing and supports for those in greatest need. Recognizing the link between food insecurity and the tenants they house, they have provided skills and resources to BC Housing tenants through the People, Plants and Homes and other Community Development programs, and most recently have been looking at how to increase tenant engagement and involvement in addressing food security.  Regional Operations Manager, Michael Kierszenblat will outline BC Housing’s plans.

BCAHL looks forward to hearing all of these perspective on food security – what is happening currently and where the future may lead us. Join us on December 5 from 9 am to 10:30 am and share your questions and perspectives with our speakers.