“Homelessness itself is a very strong barrier for food security,” said Parpouchi. “You’re not likely to have kitchen appliances for cooking and spaces to store food when you’re trying to secure shelter and housing.”

While food banks and other charities try to help fill the void, Parpouchi says it’s difficult for people to access proper nutrition when they’re already dealing with health issues related to their mental illness, drug use and are just struggling to find shelter and make appointments.

Parpouchi says the answer is to rely less on charities to address that need, adopt housing-first strategies and rethink the way food services are delivered in Canada.

“We need to think about access to food as a human right,” he said