Giving Compass' Take:

• The National Alliance to End Homelessness discusses the results of a study that shows how race disproportionally affects people of color and urges action to help solve the problem.

• What can nonprofits in this sector do to provide solutions? Data (as described here) can help focus efforts among certain communities and open up opportunities for collaboration.

Here's how gentrification has exacerbated the problem, which could be considered a humanitarian crisis in our midst.

In recent years, an increasingly urgent dialogue has emerged around race and equity in America. But that dialogue has generally overlooked one of the most visible manifestations of racial inequity: homelessness.

Homelessness is not colorblind. People of color are dramatically more likely than their White counterparts to become homeless — even when poverty rates are taken into consideration. This is no surprise given the centuries-old systemic oppression faced by the groups most disproportionately impacted by homelessness: Black and Native Americans.

In fact, we believe that high rates of homelessness among people of color are the result of structural racism. In the fall of 2016, we set out to explore this issue in depth through the Center for Social Innovation’s SPARC (Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities) initiative. This effort combines mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) of research and community capacity building in eight communities across the United States. In March of this year we released our SPARC Phase One Report presenting the first wave of research findings from six SPARC communities. Among what we learned:

  • Approximately two-thirds of people experiencing homelessness in SPARC partner communities were Black (64.7%), while 28.0% were White. 6.9% identified as Hispanic/Latinx (Latinx is a gender-neutral form used in lieu of Latino and Latina).
  • In total 78.3% of people experiencing homelessness were people of color. By comparison, the general population of the U.S. was 73.8% White, 12.4% Black, and 17.2% Hispanic/Latinx.
  • Black people were the most overrepresented among individuals ages 18-24 experiencing homelessness, accounting for 78.0% of this group. This group also had the highest over representation of people of color broadly with 89.1% of 18-24 year olds identifying as people of color.

Read the full article about the findings from a study on race on homelessness at