Standing in Solidarity
Care For the Homeless (CFH) stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters fighting for racial and social justice.
Care For the Homeless (CFH) stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters fighting for racial and social justice. The senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are only the most recent reminders that we must combat systemic racism and the violence it visits on its victims.
As an organization committed to bringing health care, human services and shelter to homeless individuals and families, it is not enough for us to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist and reflect on how well our mission addresses structural racism and inequity. This is an ongoing process and one that we are committed to realizing.
Standing in Solidarity
The scourge of homelessness and unstable housing is hardly an “equal opportunity” tragedy. In the United States, historically and today, racism and homelessness are intertwined. Our nation has a long history of discrimination in housing, employment, criminal justice and health care. These injustices have persisted to this very day and people of color are far more likely to experience homelessness as a result. In fact, African Americans make up about 12% of the U.S. population, but some studies have estimated that they represent between 40% and 45% of people experiencing homelessness across America.
At CFH, almost 80% of our patients are persons of color. As a health care and service provider, we must also address on a daily basis the social determinants — like housing and income disparities – that result in poorer health outcomes for our patients than for the general population. We believe strongly that everyone deserves low-barrier, high quality health care and we work every day to walk the talk.
Consequences of Racism in Health Care
Further yet, racism in health care has profoundly deep consequences for communities of color. African Americans have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, asthma and other chronic conditions due to social and environmental factors. As the pandemic has efficiently exposed, these health disparities have put communities of color at greater risk for contracting COVID-19. Most shocking is that some low-income communities of color have death rates 10 times higher than wealthier, predominantly white neighborhoods!
But most importantly, we must take a collective look in the mirror. Is this the America we learned about in school? Is this the America we want for future generations? Is this the America we all deserve?
If your answer is ‘no,’ then join us. It’s time to make good on our nation’s oldest promises.
What can we do to address these inequities?
We call you to advocate for policies that look to correct racial inequities, vote in local and national elections, support organizations that address structural racism, amplify the voices of marginalized communities, instill anti-racist policies in your organization and educate yourself and those around you on what role we all play in perpetuating these structures.
In the coming weeks, we will be sharing a variety of resources that address the many facets of structural racism. However, this is one small part of a much longer conversation about the numerous ways that these structures need to change. We must recognize the impact of racism and discrimination.
Call it what it is and work to end it now.
Delise DuPont Blenman, Chair of the Board of Directors
George Nashak, President and CEO
& the Care For the Homeless Family