Alameda County could make dramatic reductions in homelessness in three years by prioritizing programs that promote racial equity -- and investing $824 million -- according to a report released last week by the county.
"Centering Racial Equity in Homeless System Design" was produced by a consortium of Alameda County homelessness advocates, policy experts and service providers, and it was published by EveryOne Home, Alameda County's collective impact initiative to end homelessness.
The report said great gains could be made by focusing on preventing Black and Native American residents from falling into homelessness. People in those two groups are homeless at a rate four times higher than the general population.
"Our quantitative and qualitative research demonstrates that structural racism is at the root of poverty and housing insecurity," said Chelsea Andrews, executive director of EveryOne Home. "The systemic causes of homelessness exceedingly affect Black and Native Americans and these citizens are disproportionately impacted."
Andrews said the report includes a groundbreaking model of how to reduce homelessness in the county.
"The strategies, programs, and pathways we developed will ensure that disparities are not perpetuated and that the needs of all citizens of Alameda County are reflected," she said.
The report's authors say the overhaul is necessary to address the key driver of systemic homelessness: systemic racism.
"To end homelessness, we must end the systems that perpetuate it, and those begin with structural and systemic racism," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who co-chaired the body that created the report.
The authors of the report estimated $824 million was the cost to overhaul the status quo and design a new system that prioritizes racial equity.
The report is available online here.