In summer 2018, Your Way Home adopted “advancing equity” as a core guiding principle in its work to end homelessness.
Our work over the last year has led us to recognize that our approach to ending homelessness must fundamentally shift. We must place a priority on creating a system that not only acknowledges the unique barriers to housing stability that marginalized communities face, but that actively works to counteract those barriers through changes in how we make decisions, in how we create and fund programs, and in how we design services. This is what we mean by advancing equity.
In partnership with the HealthSpark Foundation and the SPARC team at C4 Innovations, we learned about the specific disparities we’re seeing in our own homeless population. For example, 23% of people experiencing homelessness are African American children, compared to 5% being white children. We learned that our case management practices do not account for ongoing discrimination, such as in rental and eviction practices, and as a result, we’re seeing some poorer outcomes in obtaining housing for people of color. We learned that the Hispanic/ Latino and LGBTQ populations don’t feel welcome in our network, and therefore are not accessing desperately needed housing resources. Finally, we recognized that our decision-making spaces are not inclusive or representative of our consumers, and that this inherently affects how successful our policies and programs are.
Race and Homelessness in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Part 2: National Scan by the SPARC Team at the C4 Innovations, is a first step in outlining the key actions our community should take in order to advance equity. Included in this report is the Roadmap for Implementing Racial Equity, which outlines the eight key components of racial equity, their rationale, and suggested activities. This Roadmap builds on the recommendations already outlined in their Phase 1 report (linked below).
RACE & HOMELESSNESS RESOURCES
Racism, Homelessness and Philanthropy: t3 Changing the Conversation (March 28, 2016)