Back in November of 2018, Journey Home staff member, Lisa Quach, applied to be a member of the Collaborative for Race Equity created by The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). The goal of this group is to build a co-designed framework that will address racial equity across housing resources and services in Connecticut and become “racial transformers.” A racial transformer is an advocate/champion for race equity that leads culture changes in their communities.

The first phase of this Collaborative was for the 20 members across the state to attend three learning listening sessions. This group had learning listening sessions with partners such as RE-Center Race & Equity in Education, Center for Social Innovation, and Connecticut Fair Housing Center.

Re-Center focused on racism, privilege, and power. Center for Social Innovation reviewed the SPARC: Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities report and the cycle of socialization. Between the second and final learning listening session, participants were asked to take the implicit bias test and read materials such as “White Lies” and “Excerpts from Detour-Spotting for white anti-racists” and be prepared for discussion. Connecticut Fair Housing presented data on the distribution of people of color across high/low opportunity areas in Connecticut. Did you know that there is more Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) housing in the Frog Hollow area of Hartford than the whole town of Farmington?

Connecticut data supports the persistence of these disparities in our state. According to data presented by CCEH through HMIS, African-Americans and Hispanics are respectively 10% and 14% of Connecticut’s overall population while African-Americans represent 39% and Hispanics represent 24% of the state’s homeless population in 2017.

What’s next for this group? They are currently in the process of scheduling Co-Design workshops in various parts of the state. The first one will be in Waterbury and they have invited black, indigenous, and people of color who either have lived experience of homelessness and/or are currently providing services in supportive housing or organizations working to alleviate homelessness in Connecticut.

Dates for Hartford should be scheduled soon. After co-design workshops are done, CSH will be convening the leaders of organizations for a half-day meeting in May to discuss the project, share what support the community needs and explore next steps. Sara Salomons, our Director of Development and Communications, will be attending on behalf of Journey Home.