Statement on Racial Inequality and Action
The Regional Task Force on Homelessness stands in solidarity with our member organizations and community members in condemning the violence and injustice perpetrated against Black Americans.
Homelessness disproportionately affects people of color in the San Diego region and reflects the economic and racial divides that persist in this country. The RTFH is committed to addressing racial inequality and amplifying the perspectives of people of color with lived experience in our work, communication, and organizational decision-making.
Addressing racial inequality within our country and more specifically within the effort to end homelessness is a significant and complex process. The RTFH is committed to ensuring racial equity with the homeless crisis response system and working with the community to do so. The following includes recent steps the RTFH has taken to date to begin addressing a significant and long overdue discussion and problem. Further, the RTFH is committed to listening and engaging with partners, stakeholders, and community members on additional action as equity is core to the work of ending homelessness.
We will rally our collective voice, listen, learn, and act together to pursue racial equality and work to end the systemic injustices that result in homelessness.
Ad Hoc Committee on Addressing Homelessness Among Black San Diegans
In July the RTFH CoC Board approved the recommendation to create an Ad Hoc Committee to Address Homelessness Among Black San Diegans. It is well understood that people who are black are overrepresented in San Diego’s homeless population. In the 2020 Point-In-Time Count, people who are black made up 21% of the unsheltered population and 30% of the sheltered population, while only making up 5.5% of the County’s general population. This is the result of systemic racism and a history of racial oppression in our nation and community.
The purpose of the Ad Hoc Committee is to explore the factors contributing to disparities among people who are black experiencing homelessness, listen and engage in an extensive public dialogue with community stakeholders, and develop a series of recommendations that the CoC can take to better address the impacts of systemic racism and its effects within the homeless crisis response system. This committee is chaired by board member Pastor Rolland Slade and committee member San Diego City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera.
Community Engagement Subcommittee
The Ad Hoc Addressing Homelessness Among Black San Diegans Committee strives to actively listen to the community, especially those with lived experience. The Community Engagement Subcommittee was formed to lead and design community participation and collaboration processes in order to listen to critical voices in San Diego. The input received through the community engagement activities from key stakeholders and people with lived experience will further inform the overall recommendations from the AHABSD Ad Hoc Committee to the CoC Advisory Board for adoption.
2019 CoC Racial Disparity Report
In 2019 the RTFH published a CoC Racial Disparity Report that built on an initial 2018 report, with the purpose of analyzing regional homelessness data from a race and ethnicity lens. Based on initial findings the report provides some initial considerations for the region to move forward with.
Racial Disparity Training
In 2019 the RTFH along with Pat Leslie, with Point Loma Nazarene University, provided a training and presentation on racial disparities to the CoC Membership Group. The training took a deeper dive into local data and similar to the Racial Disparity report began to outline considerations for future action.
Policy Guidelines for Regional Response for Addressing Unsheltered Homelessness and Encampments Throughout San Diego County
In January 2020, the RTFH adopted regional policy guidelines for addressing unsheltered homelessness and encampments. The policy recognizes the racial disparities that exist among San Diego’s unsheltered population and directs the region to use non-law enforcement personnel to provide street outreach services, promotes the use of a trauma-informed approach, and as part of the policies shared vision directs the region to address racial disparities through various actions
San Diego Youth Action Board
The San Diego Youth Action Board (YAB) is a diverse group of young people who want to improve the way San Diego responds to the needs of youth experiencing homelessness AND they are youth who have experienced homelessness or some type of unstable housing at some point in their lives.
The YAB uses what they learned from their life experiences to inform agencies, policymakers, and legislators on ways to work with youth experiencing homelessness and provide them with guidance on how to do it better.
Resources from National Partners:
The following includes resources from national partners on addressing racial inequity within the homeless response system:
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development:
National Alliance to End Homelessness:
- What Causes Homelessness Inequality
- Racial Equity Network Toolkit
- Racial Equity Network Action Steps
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness:
- Racial Equity: an Essential Component of Our Nations Homelessness Response
- LA’s Ad Hoc Committee of Black People Experiencing Homelessness Provides Roadmap for Equity Work
- Breaking New Ground by Focusing on Race
Funders Together to End Homelessness:
- There is No Low Hanging Fruit in Ending Anti-Blackness and Racism
- Committing to Action: Ending Homelessness by Committing to Racial Equity
Center for Social Innovation – Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities Phase 1 Findings