Food bank visits among families with children increased 10 per cent last March compared to the previous year, according to Hamilton Food Share’s Hamilton Hunger Report.

The report is a yearly statistical snapshot of who is accessing food banks and hot meal programs in the city.

Figures show that nearly 5,000 children visit a food bank each month, and the number of households accessing emergency food supports increased 5.6 per cent.

A lack of affordable housing continues to drive food bank usage in Hamilton, the report notes. When social assistance housing allowances are short of what’s actually needed to pay the rent, low-income households may be forced to rely on food banks, or skip meals, just to get by.

More than 73 per cent of households accessing a food bank pay market rent. Fifty per cent — or more than 2,000 Hamilton households using food banks — spend 56 per cent of their household income on basic necessities.