Race and Poverty
George Floyd’s life mattered, as did Ahmaud Arbery’s, as did many other lives taken that could, tragically, fill pages. Let us honor them by working to create a community and country where persons of all races, ethnicities and sexual orientation can live a life free from prejudice and violence in a society that values everyone and provides an equal opportunity for all to thrive.
ForKids Chief Executive Officer
African Americans make up 40 percent of the homeless population
despite only representing 13 percent of the general population.
Why are Africans Americans in particular overrepresented in the homeless system? *
From slavery to segregation, African Americans have been systematically denied equal rights and opportunities. The effects of long-standing discrimination linger and perpetuate disparities in poverty, housing, criminal justice, and health care, among other areas.
Poverty, particularly deep poverty, is a strong predictor of homelessness, and African American households are much more likely to experience poverty than their White counterparts. More than one one in five African Americans - 2.5 times the rate of Whites.
Rental Housing Discrimination
Black families are more likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty — areas that have limited economic opportunities, fewer services, and poorer educational resources. People who become homeless are likely to have lived in these neighborhoods immediately before their homelessness. Data show that African Americans often face barriers when attempting to move to more favorable neighborhoods. A study by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found that people of color were often shown fewer rental units, offered higher rents, and denied more leases than Whites.
The incarceration rate for African Americans tripled between 1968 and 2016 and is more than six times the White incarceration rate. A history of involvement with the criminal justice system can keep people from successfully passing background checks needed to secure housing or employment. People exiting jails and prisons face significant problems in accessing safe and affordable housing, which can result in homelessness.
Mental Health Treatment
People whose serious mental illness goes untreated are particularly vulnerable to homelessness; both poverty and lack of access to care contribute to disparities in mental health. African Americans are 10 percent more likely to report psychological distress than Whites and are far more likely to be uninsured. More than half of U.S. residents without health insurance are people of color.
___% of the families ForKids serves are African American.
We will continue to work tirelessly towards affordable, stable housing for all.