As Bay Area rent skyrockets, more families go hungry

By Tatiana Sanchez

The cost of living across Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is so high that more than a quarter of people in the region struggle to pay for food each month, according to a new food insecurity study by Second Harvest Food Bank.

Nearly 27 percent of those living in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties — an estimated 720,000 residents — are food insecure, which means they’re at risk for hunger, the study released Tuesday said. An estimated 22 percent of those who are food insecure are families with children, including families who may not fit the stereotypical image of people who go hungry — a demographic shift leaders at the food bank called, “ the Silicon Valley hunger paradox.”

“These results are particularly surprising when you consider that unemployment is at an all-time low,” said Leslie Bacho, CEO of Second Harvest, in a statement. “Unfortunately, economic growth in Silicon Valley is creating immense wealth for a minority, while driving the cost of living up for everyone. As the economy propels expenses, like rent, higher, many residents are more at risk for hunger including a significant population of children in our community.”

Of those who are food insecure, an estimated 30 percent said their rent had increased in the past year and 13 percent faced eviction or foreclosure, the study said. Meanwhile, 26 percent lost their job in the past year, while 11 percent had their hours cut and 19 percent took on unexpected healthcare costs. – See more.

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