Category Archives: CoC Policies

Equity Assessment Resource for Homeless System Response

The COVID-19 crisis has upended our lives, changing the way we offer and deliver services and challenging us in unimaginable ways. However, this crisis also presents cities, counties, states, Continuums of Care (CoCs), and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) recipients and subrecipients with an opportunity to transform our homeless response systems into systems that ensure all those we serve have a safe, stable home from which to thrive. We must make equity the foundation of these refined systems, embedding it in the design, implementation, performance measures, and monitoring of our work.

COVID-19 has amplified the historic and current racial biases and discrimination embedded in our systems, processes, and practices. As of May 19, 2020, the mortality rate for Black Americans is 2.4 times as high as the rate for Whites
and 2.2 times as high as the rate for Asians and Latinxs in America. These staggering disparities in deaths among Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color as well as the disproportionality among those experiencing homelessness mandates the need to not only place equity at the foundation of our homeless response systems, but also to center racial equity.

Below is a helpful resource and assessment for CoCs and service providers to utilize in discussing and addressing racial inequity in our homeless response:

In addition, here are excellent examples of how some cities and states are centering racial equity as they redesign and refine their systems:

Western Virginia CoC Statement against Racial Discrimination

The Western Virginia Continuum of Care is against all forms of racism, racial discrimination, and oppression on the basis of race. We stand in solidarity with our black American brothers and sisters, as well as all those working to end racial inequality in our nation. The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many other black Americans denote a horrific pattern of systemic racism, racial oppression, and injustice dating back to slavery and segregation in the United States. Systemic racism has perpetuated undeniable disparities in homelessness among black Americans due to disparate access to resources such as education, employment opportunities, income, healthcare, legal aid and safety, to name a few.

The Western Virginia Continuum of Care is committed to ending racial inequality in the homelessness sector and confronting systemic racism in our nation. We denounce the gross racial oppression and injustice experienced by black Americans and commit to being proactive in our work to end racial inequality and homelessness by developing and accessing racial equality tools and resources, collaborating with others leading equality efforts, and incorporating trainings on racial equality in our Continuum and individual organizations.