What if the best way to alleviate food insecurity is to help people build their credit scores?

It makes intuitive sense that a low-income family, paying expensive rent, might experience food insecurity. Research shows that when people run low on money, groceries are often one of the first bills to trim. “Rent eats first. Households are forced to pay their rent because they need a place to stay,” says Andrew Aurand, vice president of research for the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

But policymakers tend to focus on solutions that address only the grocery bill, not the whole equation. Food banks provide one-time emergency aid. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) disburses money that can be spent only on groceries. It’s usually not enough. What if food and nutrition advocates also focused on blunting the financial impact of other risk factors, like high rent and poor credit?