• Journal Article

Nutritional and Economic-Advantages for Homeless Families in Shelters Providing Kitchen Facilities and Food

Citation

Wiecha, J., Dwyer, J. T., Jacques, P. F., & Rand, W. M. (1993). Nutritional and Economic-Advantages for Homeless Families in Shelters Providing Kitchen Facilities and Food. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 93(7), 777-783. DOI: 10.1016/0002-8223(93)91752-C

Abstract

Food habits were examined in homeless families in Boston-area hotels and family shelters Reported household income, food expenditures, food sources, and attitudes were analyzed for 77 caretakers grouped according to kitchen facilities provided and amount of food provided. Diets were analyzed using a 4-week semiquantitatives food-frequency questionnaire for 71 female respondents grouped by type of residence (hotel or shelter). Median monthly income was $589 and was similar among groups. Mean monthly food expenditures were lower for those who lived in shelters that provided standard kitchen facilities and substantial food support compared with those who lived in hotels without these amenities ($93 vs $244; P < .05). Compared with others, respondents who lived in hotels reported purchasing food more frequently (P < .05), were more likely to use food pantries (P < .01), and had fewer food items on hand (P < .01). They were less likely to be satisfied with their diets, access to food, and cooking and food storage facilities (P < .05). Nutrient intakes were frequently below two thirds of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin B-6 (63% of respondents), calcium (44%), and iron (44%). Vitamin A intakes were lower in hotel residents, as were vitamin B-6, (63% of respondents and zinc per 1,000 kcal (P < .05). We conclude that services provided to homeless families in shelters and hotels may influence food expenditures, food procurement, and women's diets. Nutrition professionals should consider the availability of kitchen facilities and food when counseling homeless families