During times like these, I am especially grateful to be part of a community at the forefront of promoting equity, reducing disparities, and making sure that everyone has a place to call home. And that includes you.
The solution to homelessness is simple: providing housing and support services to everyone who needs them. However, especially right now, the path toward this goal is a complex one.
This year, we have faced more and bigger challenges than ever before. A prolonged health crisis, continued widespread racial injustice, and nationwide economic uncertainty have all had a disproportionate impact on people experiencing homelessness.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic changed life for us all, the lack of affordable housing and inaccessible healthcare meant a steadily worsening homelessness situation. In recent years, the number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness has continued to rise, as has the number of older adults who are homeless.
In the wake of these challenges, the Alliance continues to work toward progress.
This year, the Alliance's Homelessness Research Institute (HRI) has partnered with key analysts to help determine the connections between homelessness and race, with the ultimate goal of reducing disparities in homelessness. Beginning in April of this year, HRI also responded to the COVID-19 crisis by initiating a nationwide survey series examining the impact of the pandemic on people experiencing homelessness. Since then, the team has tracked the many challenges the homelessness sector has aced, and the impact they have had on people experiencing homelessness. HRI's findings have been released in its annual State of Homelessness report, its COVID-19 survey analysis, and other publications; and have been shared with communities across the nation.
In early 2020, our Center for Capacity Building launched the Center for Learning, an online training platform for homeless service providers. The timing was fortuitous. We were able to use the platform to quickly respond to needs in the field, for example through a training curriculum for new staff hired to support homeless people in quarantine and isolation quarters. The team also operated an online Forum that gave communities a place to share information and best practices on COVID and equity issues. And, our direct technical assistance and training to communities did not stop – although it did become virtual.
Our Policy team has worked hard to educate Congressional leaders on the need for focused policy and increased resources aimed at going to scale with proven solutions. We have also worked hard to highlight the link between the affordable housing crisis and increasing rates of homelessness. And we have pursued policies to address disparities in homelessness for people of color, veterans, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities through our Racial Equity Network and other initiatives.
The challenges we face are real, and they are many. But with your support, we know we can have an impact.
Homelessness is a solvable problem, and we at the Alliance – with your help and partnership – are committed to doing everything we can to end it. Will you support us in our work?
President and Chief Executive Officer National Alliance to End Homelessness