Food insecurity, homelessness, poverty, SNAP, hunger, motel residents


Families who are food insecure do not have regular access to food, access to enough food to satisfy their hunger, or have to resort to extraordinary measures to access food such as traveling to food pantries and other emergency food sources. This article focuses on low-income families with children who live in extended stay motels and experienced food insecurity. Families reported several indicators of food insecurity and discussed the barriers to food security they experienced as a result of living in a motel. Families reported that the locations of the motels, lack of transportation, the lack of storage space and kitchen appliances in the rooms presented barriers for them to regularly access and store enough food for their families. Despite receiving government assistance in the form of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, most families depended on food pantries or charities to supplement their food supply each month. The interviews revealed that economic resources are not the only barriers to food security and these barriers need to be taken into account when attempting to address food insecurity among disadvantaged populations such as families living in motels. Several strategies to alleviate food insecurity among this population are discussed.

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