Yorkshire Housing has donated £25,000 to kick-start a fundraising drive will help foodbanks supply much-needed essentials to people hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The cash is for the More than Homes campaign – which launched today (Tue) and aims to raise an initial £1m for the Trussell Trust.
It is backed by the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Northern Housing Consortium.
Housing associations look after about 6m tenants, many of whom have experienced difficulties since the pandemic began.
The Trussell Trust, founded in 1997, has seen a surge in demand for food parcels since the pandemic started.
Its network of 1,200 foodbanks experienced an 80 per cent increase in demand for emergency food parcels in the final two weeks of March.
The number of parcels given to children has soared by 122 per cent.
More than Homes aims to meet that demand by ensuring the Trussell Trust has the resources to support people in poverty both now and over the longer term.
Money raised will go directly to local foodbanks to help them deliver thousands of emergency parcels to people’s doors.
It will also support a new national telephone helpline and the recruitment, training and deployment of some 15,000 new volunteers.
Yorkshire Housing chief executive Nick Atkin said: “At a time when so many people are struggling, this is when the work of housing associations has so much impact.
“Many of us already work alongside the Trussell Trust and have seen the fantastic work and the real difference they make to so many people’s lives.
“That’s why we didn’t hesitate when asked to support the campaign.
“We know from the huge amount of contact we’ve had with our customers since the pandemic hit just how many are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table.
“Supporting this campaign is another way we can help to ensure we are there when they need us the most.”
A report commissioned by the Food Foundation found three million people have experienced hunger as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.
And about 140,000 applied for the government’s furlough scheme on the day it was launched, instantly affecting more than 1m workers and their families.
Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “This is a great idea, bringing together charitable organisations at the heart of local communities to support those most in need.
“Foodbanks provide an invaluable service to people who are unable to cover the cost of living and it is more important than ever that they are able to keep running at this time.
“Throughout this crisis, housing associations have been finding new ways to support vulnerable groups and people struggling financially.”
More than Homes will help ensure people affected by the pandemic necessities keep food on their tables in addition to a roof over their heads.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “We’re working round-the-clock with our network to understand each foodbank’s situation, offer guidance and work out how we can best support them.
“The resilience of foodbanks is nothing short of outstanding.
“But we know we can’t do this alone, so we are truly grateful for any support housing associations can give in these incredibly difficult times.”