Racism and homelessness are inextricably linked. Research shows that Black and Native Americans experience homelessness at disproportionately high rates, even when we control for disparities in poverty level.
This means that, like so many other systems of care in America impacted by racism, the homeless response system produces racial disparities. The system can maintain or exacerbate these disparities — or work to dismantle them. Communities are using data to understand and improve the racial equity of a community’s homeless response system.
Communities work to track disparities in outcomes, such as:
- The length of time people spend homeless
- Rates of return from housing, which tell us about the level of support folks are afforded and the sustainability of our interventions
- Rates of exit to permanent housing, which can help us think about resource allocation and who is being underserved by our current systems of care.
They also look at system decision-making power and the experiences of people being served by the systems.