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Public Health
Home and rental prices continue to soar in Northern Nevada and Northeastern California, leaving more working families and individuals on the brink. Seniors, college students, single parents, immigrants, and the working poor are particularly vulnerable. Some must choose to pay rent over buying food or securing healthcare. The lack of affordable housing in urban and rural areas alike is changing the identity of this region. In response, the KUNR newsroom is examining housing through many lenses, including the economic, political, and public health impacts.You can also subscribe to the Priced Out Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

For Many, Housing Insecurity Means Food Insecurity

Pallets with boxes of food sit in a food pantry.
Anh Gray

A new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that rents have been rising faster than incomes. Many families have a hard time paying for housing and buying food. Our reporter Anh Gray checks in with the head of the region’s food bank to see how housing security is linked to food security.

The Food Bank of Northern Nevada distributes meals to nearly 150 non-profit organizations throughout the region. As rent prices have jumped, food insecurity can be an issue for many low-income workers.

“Housing is the biggest problem in this community,” says Al Brislain, president and CEO of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. “I think everybody agrees on that. I was at a chamber of commerce meeting and they were talking about, ‘We’ve got to fix this housing problem or we’re going to price a lot of the workers out of the market.' And right now, a lot of the short-term is coming from the charitable sector.”

Brislain says rising housing costs are having an impact on families’ ability to buy food.

“When you have to make choices, which many of our families are, between being able to pay rent or being able to feed their kids, those are tough choices. When we can give them food, we’re helping them make that choice easier.”

This story is part of our series called Priced Out: The Housing Crunch.

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