In every state in America, black people are more likely to experience homelessness than their white counterparts, and the Bay Area is no exception. Despite representing 5% of San Francisco’s population, 37% of homeless people in San Francisco are black.
These discrepancies are a result of centuries of racism and exclusion from opportunities for economic mobility. Red-lining, ‘block-busting’, contract selling, and denying black people access to federal home ownership programs barred black people from the economic benefits of home ownership throughout the 20th century.
Racial discrimination in housing continues today: 45% of black Americans report experiencing discrimination when trying to rent or buy housing. For every 5 in-person visits to a rental housing provider, black applicants are shown 1 less unit than their equally qualified white counterparts.
The COVID-19 induced economic downturn will exacerbate inequalities, but there is an opportunity for systemic change. Black people are experiencing infection and death rates that are disproportionate to their share of the population. Black people are more likely than white people to lose wealth during an economic downturn. Interventions to increase racial equity in housing will not only allow black Americans to recover form the this crisis faster, but will also increase future resiliency to economic shocks.
As part of our work towards increasing equity and economic opportunity , All Home has convened the Regional Impact Council, a group of multi-sectoral leaders from all 9 Bay Area counties who are working together in two phases. The first phase will focus on rapid responses to the homelessness crisis, with a focus on reducing disproportionate outcomes for people of color. The second phase will develop a platform for change that incorporates an integrated systems approach to end homelessness and identify pathways for people of color, specifically extremely low income, people to thrive.