Racial Equity Plan in Homeless Services
Starting in early 2021 the Hamilton County/Cincinnati Continuum of Care asked Strategies to End Homelessness to coordinate an effort to embed racial equity in all aspects of the local homeless services system. To begin we formed a Racial Equity Working Group. The group is made up of dedicated staff members from many of our partner organizations working to end homelessness.
The Working Group started working with Racial Equity Partners (REP) to conduct an assessment and planning process that included:
- To conduct an online survey of all the staff working in the homeless services system in Hamilton County.
- Review the homeless services system policies and procedures and governance documents.
- Conduct program participant focus groups.
- Finally, conduct interviews with key stakeholders.
The Racial Equity Work Group also created a Racial Equity Action Plan with the following goals:
1) Improve collaboration to bridge gaps in services and ensure equitable treatment for people of color.
2) Reduce the number of evictions of BIPOC in Hamilton County by 10%. The proportion of evictions of people of color will match the proportion of the population of Hamilton County.
3) Understand the unique dimensions of homelessness among Hispanic/Latino people. Develop a strategic response to Latino homelessness.
4) Center racial equity in our work with clients and partners.
5) Equip the homeless services workforce in Hamilton County with the skills and knowledge needed to implement equity-based strategies in the homelessness response system
Racial Equity Partners was Co-Founded by Donald Whitehead, Kavita Singh Gilchrist, and Jeff Olivet. Jeff has since stepped aside to act as Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. REP led our local homeless services system through a four-part training. The purpose to help trainees understand racism. And how to work to help organizations become antiracist. Each session had more than 100 participants. Small group sessions meant that trainees could freely discuss their own experiences and challenges.
Strategies to End Homelessness and the Continuum of Care are committed to this plan. Finally, we intend to focus on these goals over the next two years and evaluate our progress as we go.