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Learn how you can advocate for racial justice & read critical policy news.
Learn how you can advocate for racial justice & read critical policy news.
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Mobilizer
March 29, 2018 | Volume 22, No. 3 | Archives
Advocating for Racial Equity
People of color are far more likely to experience homelessness than white people. While this is certainly not surprising for those of us in the Health Care for the Homeless community, Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities (SPARC), an initiative through the Center for Social Innovation (CSI), recently released a new report that provides valuable analysis to further inform our advocacy work. The report lists policy recommendations that focus on reversing policies that have systematically discriminated against people of color, including implementing new strategies to provide equitable housing.
The report also lists the following ways for individuals to Take Action:
  1. Educate yourself, your organization, and your wider community on interpersonal, institutional, and structural racism and facts about race and homelessness. 
  2. Use the data emerging from SPARC to shape advocacy and public awareness strategies at the organizational and community levels.
  3. Get involved with organizational and community-wide efforts to address homelessness through a racial equity perspective.
  4. Continue to be a voice for change in your community.
Read the full report: policy and action recommendations start on page 19. Jeff Olivet and Marc Dones, lead authors of the report are presenting at our upcoming 2018 National HCH Conference & Policy Symposium. Join us at HCH2018 in Minneapolis on May 17th where you can further explore how to become an agent of change for racial equity. Register to learn and network with hundreds of colleagues from across the U.S. at this singular annual gathering of clinicians, consumers, administrators, advocates, and policymakers.
Read the Report
In 2016, 13% of Americans identified as Black/African-American. 23% of all health center patients identified as Black/African American. For patients seen in Health Care for the Homeless Health Centers, 34% identified as Black/African American.
“People in the Health Care for the Homeless community bring a unique perspective, both the real on-the-ground perspective and the larger holistic perspective. Whether a CAB member, a nurse, or a program director, it is critical that racial equity is part of your advocacy.”

— Jeff Olivet, CEO of the Center for Social Innovation and co-author of the SPARC report
 “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.” (Page 21) 
“The Health Care for the Homeless community must continue to make sure people of color and people with the lived experience are at the table. You must lend your voice by sharing the data-driven analytics and the real lived experiences—Health Care for the Homeless is positioned to provide both, and that’s really valuable.”
— Marc Dones, Project Director at the Center for Social Innovation and co-author of the SPARC report
Federal Budget Breakdown
Last week Congress avoided a government shutdown by passing a bipartisan budget package called an “omnibus” to fund the government through September 30, 2018. Overall, this omnibus allocated additional funding for many health and housing programs, which is good news and a win for advocates!
Here are budget highlights:
  • Health & Substance Use: Overall federal health spending increased by about $10 billion, with $3.3 billion specifically designated for the opioid crisis; the majority of these funds will go to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). See a breakdown of behavioral health funding from our partners at the National Council for Behavioral Health.
  • Housing: HUD programs received an additional $4.6 billion overall, with many programs receiving increases or level funding compared to 2017. All Housing Choice Vouchers were renewed and new vouchers were made available for veterans and people with disabilities. Homeless Assistance Programs, Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, Project-Based Rental Housing, Public Housing, and Funding Opportunities for Persons with AIDS received an increase in funding from the previous year. See an in-depth breakdown from our partners at the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
  • Health Centers: Community Health Centers received a $135 million increase from 2017. (Remember, Community Health Center Funds provided through this omnibus is part of the discretionary budgetary process which accounts for 30% of total Health Center funding. The other 70% of mandatory funding was provided through legislation to “Fix the Cliff” that passed in February.) Between the two streams of funding, health centers will see $335 million additional funding in FY2018.
  • Health Service Corps: The Health Workforce program, which includes the National Health Service Corps, received a $222 million increase over 2017 levels which provides for expanded eligibility for loan repayment.
  • USICH: The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), a key coordinator for national partners and federal agencies, that was set to expire at the end of 2017, was authorized for two more years.
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Regina Reed, MPH
National Health Policy Organizer
National HCH Council
Baltimore, MD
rreed@nhchc.org
(443) 703-1337 
Take Action!
Take Action
  • Congress is home until mid-April on spring break. Meet them on your turf: attend a town hall event.
  • All politics are local. Join local housing or health care coalitions.
  • As state legislative sessions are coming to a close, let us know what’s been happening in your state on health and housing and how you’ve been involved (and you’ll possibly be be featured in our next Mobilizer!). 
Find a Local Event
Keep Up the Noise Against Work Requirements
Use the Council’s publication on how work requirements and other provisions such as lifetime caps and copays are harmful for the HCH community and speak out if your state is considering these provisions. Learn what your state is doing and find contact info for your state Governor’s office. Currently, 10 states have proposals awaiting federal approval (AL, AR, AZ, IN, KS, ME, NH, UT, WI, MS).
Learn More
Students in Washington, DC for the March this past Saturday. Image courtesy of our staff member, Caroline Gumpenberger, who marched alongside them.
Exemplary Advocacy
Last weekend millions marched worldwide to demand action on gun violence. This movement is the latest in a long tradition of youth-led activism. While national attention on gun violence is new, gun violence has affected communities of color for decades (see what youth of color are saying about this movement and learn about gun violence and race). People without homes are exposed to violence at a greater rate than the housed population. While recognizing these inequities, we push forward and take notes from the student organizers: their tenacity and engagement of those directly involved in solutions is a critical part of any social change.
This publication and all HCH advocacy are funded by dues from Organizational Members of the Council and by private donations. Consider joining the Council to support this work.
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National Heatlh Care for the Homeless Council
PO Box 60427 | Nashville, TN 37206 US
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