The Need Economic turbulence, rising inflation, and lingering impacts of the pandemic have left our clients with many challenges. Hunger rates are continuing to rise well above normal levels across the country. As eviction moratoriums ran out, community members looked to us for help. The waitlist for housing in Bucks County continues to grow as a result. Here’s a snapshot of the need we face right now. According to a 2022 study by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the average person needs at least $24.96/hour to afford a two bedroom housing unit. This is more than three times the current minimum wage ($7.25/hour), and is higher than the Pennsylvania average hourly wage needed ($20.90/hour). According to this same study, the average person would need to work 3.4 full-time minimum-wage-paying jobs in order to afford a two bedroom unit in Bucks County. More than 10% of those that are homeless are experiencing chronic homelessness – a state that refers to those who repeatedly experience homelessness and are often experiencing mental illnesses/substance abuse issues. (Bucks County PA Homeless Shelter Directory) On January 24, 2023 313 people were in emergency shelter, transitional housing, or outdoors in Bucks County. This is a ≈27% decrease from the number of people counted last January; however, the number of people sleeping unsheltered outdoors and/or in a “code blue*” increased from 89 in 2022 to 105 in 2023. That is roughly 34% of the homeless population in Bucks County. (2023 Point in Time Count) *Code blue refers to winter nights when the temperature drops to 32 degrees or below, including wind-chill, between 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM. (Coalition for the Homeless) Bucks County has 14 neighborhoods considered to be food deserts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Pennsylvania is the 8th highest state in terms of number of individuals experiencing homelessness, topped only by states that are much more populous like California and Texas. (US Interagency Council on Homelessness) The pandemic also hampered a decades’ long effort to fight food insecurity. According to Feeding America, as much as 13.3% of Bucks County, more than 40,000 people, may suffer from some level of food insecurity in 2021. These aren’t just numbers: we face this reality every day in the form of longer lines at our pantries and sustained demand for the Emergency Rental Assistance program. If you want to learn more about our impact, click here. If you wish to join in our efforts, click here to learn about the many ways to get involved.