Many services, programs, and policies systematically discriminate against people with diverse racial, ethnic, and gender identities. When people experience homelessness, trauma, substance use, and mental health challenges, their housing stability is further undermined by racism, discrimination, and stigma.
Equity is a strategy to address those disparities and achieve fairness for all. At C4 Innovations, we start with racial equity because racism permeates every institution and system in the U.S., denying millions the right to a fair and just society in which they can thrive and prosper. Through partnership with communities and people with lived experience, we incorporate person-centered, recovery-oriented, and trauma-informed approaches to understand factors that drive inequities and achieve transformative outcomes.
Our approach is informed by established theories of change for dismantling structural racism and frameworks for aligning cross-systems contributions--including A Guide to the Accountability for Equitable Results Framework*--that ensure lasting, measurable, equitable results across programs, practice, policies, institutions, and systems.
Together with communities, we:
- Disaggregate data to differentiate populations that are most marginalized
- Analyze explicit and implicit factors and patterns that perpetuate disparities
- Identify cross-system and upstream factors and solutions
- Design, implement, and monitor equity strategies
- Build shared accountability for achieving and sustaining results across stakeholders
*The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2019). A Guide to the Accountability for Equitable Results Framework. Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation. Retrieved from www.aecf.org.
Below are selected examples of our recent work on racial equity and housing stability.
Coordinated Entry Systems Racial Equity Analysis of Assessment Data
Nationally, people of color are overrepresented among people who are homeless. Stakeholders and policymakers are examining system-level factors which may be contributing to, reinforcing, and perpetuating these racial inequities.
In partnership with Building Changes and several Continuums of Care, we conducted an analysis to examine potential limits of assessments used by coordinated entry systems to prioritize those with the greatest need. Our research concludes:
- On average, Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) receive statistically significantly lower prioritization scores than their White counterparts.
- White individuals are prioritized for Permanent Supportive Housing intervention at a higher rate than BIPOC individuals.
- Race is a predictor of receiving a high score (i.e., an assessment for Permanent Supportive Housing/Housing First), where being white was a protective factor for single adults.
- VI-SPDAT subscales do not equitably capture vulnerabilities for BIPOC compared to Whites: race is a predictor of 11/16 subscales, and most subscales are tilted towards capturing vulnerabilities that Whites are more likely to endorse.
Read the racial equity analysis and recommendations.
Our findings point to the pressing need and potential to initiate change and transformation for more equitable assessments and prioritization processes.
Through the SPARC initiative, we are addressing racial inequities and developing resources, tools, and policies that help build more equitable homeless response systems.