The Road Ahead: 2021 Update on Food Access & Food Security in the District of Columbia
As the COVID-19 public health emergency has subsided, the overall food insecurity rate for the District in 2021 is 11%, which is a near return to the pre-COVID food insecurity rate of 10.6% in 2019. However, this generalized data hides the continued elevated needs of Black and Latinx households, households with children, and seniors, which all remain at higher risk of food insecurity than that general District population. While white households with children reported statistically zero food insufficiency in April 2021, Black and Latinx households with children reported 21% and 29.3% food insufficiency, respectively. The challenges faced by these populations reflects the systemic challenges of the racial wealth gap, high costs of living, and historic disinvestments in communities of color which require increased strategic investment and support.
This update to the Food Access & Food Security in the District of Columbia report, published in September 2020, evaluates the ambitious steps the District has taken and the progress that has been made to address food insecurity of its residents.
Food Access & Food Security in the District of Columbia: Responding to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (September 2020)
Food insecurity is a chronic condition that existed before the onset of the public health emergency, when 10.6% of District residents were food insecure. COVID-19 has exacerbated food insecurity in the District; it is projected that the District’s food insecurity rate in 2020 will be at least 16%, with even higher rates among vulnerable populations, including the elderly, children, undocumented individuals, and unhoused individuals.
In accordance with the Coronavirus Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, signed into law by Mayor Bowser on May 27, 2020, this report evaluates and makes recommendations to address food access needs during and following the public health emergency.