“Join us to reimagine the homeless response system. And while you are at it, take a deep dive within yourself and challenge how you show up as a technical assistance provider and how you engage with others.” –Regina Cannon
Regina Cannon, C4’s Chief Equity and Impact Officer & Vice President of Housing Solutions, conceptualized and is co-leading the Coordinated Entry Equity Demonstration Project through the Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The goal of the Demonstration Project is to achieve racially equitable housing outcomes by centering the expertise of people of color who have experienced homelessness or housing instability.
Cohort 1 of the Demonstration Project includes eight communities who are reimagining homeless response systems and fundamentally changing their approaches. In partnership with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) with lived expertise, the communities identify systemic inequities in their local data, identify priority focus areas, and test racially equitable Coordinated Entry System processes.
“This is the time to have the complicated, messy, and nuanced conversations about real change, real transformation, across all of our systems and to then take action. Are you with me?” –Regina Cannon
As the communities have moved through this process over the past 8 months, participants are learning about strategies for approaching racial equity work including:
● Reimagining new ways instead of trying to fix an old way
● Capitalizing on the sense of urgency to do racial equity work while also working with intentionality and not rushing the process
● Spending the time needed to build a strong foundation, change culture, and shift perspectives within and across systems
● Authentically engaging people with lived expertise
● Listening deeply to each other, community members, and team members
● Being transparent about decision making and results
● Holding each other accountable to real change
● Integrating qualitative and experiential data to inform the process
● Making course corrections and being nimble to meet community needs in real time
Next steps for the Demonstration Project include:
• Documenting process, lessons learned, and resources used
• Identifying promising practices for authentically engaging people with lived expertise
• Reviewing collective impact
• Determining how to encourage sustainability
• Identifying additional communities to begin the process
In the end, the impact Regina strives to seed and grow in each community is to significantly transform homeless response systems and improve housing stability for people who are disproportionately represented. Stay tuned for more info about the results.
“Seek out solutions that are bold and not race-neutral, that encapsulate the full breadth of race and ethnicity.” –Regina Cannon
The work of the demonstration project is an outgrowth of efforts that Regina has led over the past year with HUD staff and technical assistance partners to ensure racial equity across all efforts to increase housing stability and decrease homelessness. Learn more about some of the products that resulted from their efforts.