Tuesday, March 6, 2018

On the Release of SPARC’s Phase I Report of Research on Racial Inequity and Homelessness

Since late 2016, with the support of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas' Unite Dallas Relief Fund, we, at the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA), have been partnering with five other cities, towards establishing racial equity in homeless services, through SPARC (Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities), a new research and action program from the Center for Social Innovation (C4).

Our motivation to join this effort was born out of the deeply tragic and difficult work of assisting in closing multiple large homeless encampments, in 2016. MDHA President and CEO, Cindy J. Crain, described the realization that experience brought about, “The truth of the dramatic overrepresentation of persons of color, predominantly black, in this population, was right in front of us. Our annual homeless counts and periodic reporting to the Federal Government affirmed these facts too. We wanted our community’s experience to be a part of a greater body of research and action necessary to effect system change and address this racial disparity head on.”
Cindy J. Crain, with a friend, in 2016
Today, March 2, 2018, the Center for Social Innovation released its first public report, based on careful analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, from Dallas and five other cities, including, “111,563 individual records of people from HMIS (homeless management information systems)… 148 oral histories of people and data from 18 focus groups in six communities across the United States.” (pg. 4)
The research and action over the course of the last 16 months has shown us, as it has shown the Center for Social Innovation researchers that, “it is critical to understand that racial equity should not simply be another initiative or program that is implemented in the mix with other strategies. Instead, commitment to racial equity must permeate all other tactics and strategies that cities, counties, states, and the nation use to prevent and end homelessness.” (pg. 21)

We are thankful to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and to all our friends and supporters who have traveled and continue to travel with us on this journey of social justice, and we invite you read the full report.

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