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.
There is always more to learn. Here are a few resources we recommend to deepen your knowledge about housing, homelessness, and systemic racism:
- The Color of Law, A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein
- Just Action: How to Challenge Segregation Enacted Under The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein and Leah Rothstein
- How Housing Supply Shapes Access to Opportunity, a project of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation
- Statewide Goals, Local Tools: Case Studies in Affordable Housing Development in California, also from the Terner Center
- Systematic Inequality; How America’s Structural Racism Helped Create the Black-White Wealth Gap, from the Center for American Progress
- Systemic Inequality: Displacement, Exclusion, and Segregation, from the Center for American Progress
- National Alliance to End Homelessness’ Demographic Data Project: Part III: Race, Ethnicity, and Homelessness
- How Economic Crises and Sudden Disasters Increase Racial Disparities in Homeownership, from the Urban Institute