As part of our role ending homelessness in one of the most inequitable regions in America, Destination: Home is committed to racial equity and housing justice. While combating the entrenched forces pushing more people of color into homelessness will take more than one five-year plan or dedicated staff member, we are in the process of integrating a racial equity lens in all facets of our work.
Understanding the Intersection of Race & Homelessness in Our Community
In 2019, we began investigating how race and homelessness intersect in our community. This effort resulted in a report, Race & Homelessness in Santa Clara County that documented the significant racial disparities in the rate at which our neighbors experience homelessness.
Taking on Systemic Forces
Guided by recommendations in the above report, Destination: Home and our Supportive Housing System partners have committed themselves to eliminating racial disparities in homelessness and attacking systemic racism.
In 2020, the Continuum of Care released the 2020-2025 Community Plan to End Homelessness – which explicitly acknowledged systemic racism as one of the root causes of homelessness – identifing the actionable steps below to address racial disparities related to homelessness.
Adopt and implement new fair
housing plans for the region.
Provide legal assistance to ensure that individuals and families most severely impacted by the lack of affordable housing, namely people of color, have equal access to housing.
Center the voices of people who have lived experience of homelessness, especially people of color, in the policy and program design decisions of the supportive housing system.
Within the supportive housing system, incentivize hiring of people who have lived experience of homelessness to reflect the client population—especially people of color and LGBTQI+ persons.
Increase access to supportive housing programs for people of color by addressing racial bias in our system.
Provide trauma-informed care and racial equity/anti-racism training to all staff working with people experiencing homelessness.
Align racial equity work in the homelessness sector with other racial equity initiatives in Santa Clara County.
While we have a long way to go to implement these important actions, Destination: Home is taking some important initial steps.
Engaging with The Justice Collective, we’re providing trainings for system partners on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), delving into the historic and present contexts and implications of inequity in Santa Clara County and the field of housing.
The first training, linked below, focuses on a shared understanding of key concepts, terms, and frameworks related to EDI, to build a common level of understanding in the collective action required to eliminate racial disparities in homelessness.
This is a long-term commitment for Destination: Home. As we continue to build new systems and solutions to end homelessness, we pledge to listen to, learn from and co-create with those who have experienced the injustices we mean to eliminate.