Rising housing and food prices results in increasing homelessness in Barrie

Suppose you combine the ongoing pandemic with the rising food, housing and rental costs. In that case, it's no wonder why there's a growing homeless population in the city of Barrie, adding more people to the list facing food insecurities.

Recent data shows Barrie listed as one of the top five most expensive cities to rent across the country. Barrie Bayside Mission Executive Director, Major Stephanie Watkinson, says because of the hefty price tags on one and two-bedroom rentals, even those with a roof over their head and a job are now finding it hard to put food on their tables.

"Even if they are housed and working, they are not able to afford to buy food as well as pay their rent," says Major Watkinson. "Then we have a huge growing population of homeless, unsheltered individuals that we are supporting with food as well."

According to The Mission, by the end of September, it will have served 121,000 meals in 2021; that's a 30 per cent increase over the previous year.

"We've done in the first nine months of this year, over 36 thousand more meals than we did in the same period last year, so our budget didn't project that type of increase,"

To help offset the costs of demand, The Mission has launched a "Buy a meal for five dollars" campaign that is expected to provide lunch and dinner daily to those facing food insecurities.

Meals will go to those staying at The Mission shelter, in motels, or community housing and given to those who are unsheltered and visit The Mission for a meal once or twice a day.

"We're trying to encourage the whole community to donate $5 or more if they're able to help support members of our community who are really suffering and that are really struggling to feed themselves and their families."

It's hoped this campaign will tide them over until the Christmas campaigns begin in the middle of November.

To donate, click here.