The nation’s response to homelessness needs to be rooted in racial equity and social justice. That’s the position myself and representatives from Seattle are bringing to the National Conference to End Homelessness this week in Washington DC.
Many populations disproportionately experience homelessness and housing instability in our nation:
- Native Americans (especially urban Indians, who represent 78% of all Natives)
- Refugees & immigrants (a majority of whom are homeless or suffering from housing instability within three months of resettlement)
- People suffering mental illness
- Previously incarcerated people (who are disproportionately black and other people of color)
Members of the All Home Coordinating Board and staff and the City of Seattle expressed this message in a meeting with our key federal partners, including the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, US Health & Human Services, US Department of Housing & Urban Development and the US Department of State.
A group of us also went to Capitol Hill to meet with the Senior Legislative Assistant to Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-1st). I spoke to the importance of funding for stabilization services (prevention and diversion), the Low-Income Tax Credit, and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in ending homelessness, including linkage to the criminal justice system.
The National Association to End Homelessness goals for next administration are:
- No child is homeless.
- There are decent and supported accommodations so no one is unsheltered.
- We will/have finished the job of ending veterans’ and chronic homelessness.
- Reliable and useful data exists on intervention to end homelessness for youth and young adults.
I hope to have additional reports from the conference for you soon!
Photo: Solid Ground’s Gordon McHenry, Jr. and Seattle homeless advocates take DC by storm. Left to right: All Home staff Kira Zylstra and Felicia Salcedo; Colleen Echohawk, Chief Seattle Club/All Home Coordinating Board; Gordon; and All Home’s Danielle Winslow