Now, this one overarching story of homelessness has many facets. Consequently, making homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring, rarely involves silver bullets; it is usually all about silver buckshot. However, the more you carefully analyze the different facets of the problem and its solutions, the more you see that the same ideas, themes and challenges show up again and again.
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If you know me, you know that I constantly talk about and write about the Flex Fund, which pays for minor but impactful expenditures that can help folks end their homelessness. We track every one of these expenditures in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), and we break them down into 16-17 different categories. This helps us better understand exactly what the current needs are. That way we, from the system level down to the case manager level, can better address those needs.
For the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Basic Needs grant application, we are asked to produce detailed information not only regarding the individual solutions the Flex Fund provides, but also detailed demographic information about the population that is helped through the Flex Fund. Our HMIS team pored through the records, and gave me this demographic information, and one thing immediately jumped out at me.
The Flex Fund helped 129 persons or families during the second half of 2016, and here is their breakdown by race:
American Indian: 1Asian: 1
Two or More Races: 5
Without even calculating percentages, the number of persons of color, in general, and African-Americans, specifically, is immediately noticeable. When you actually do the math, and divide 87 by 129, the result is shocking yet eerily familiar – about 67%. If you are familiar with our previous posts on Racism and Homelessness, you have seen this percentage before. When we look at the homeless population, in
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