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Day 9: Homelessness

Thank you for taking this challenge! If this is your first day of joining us for the 14-Day Equity Challenge, welcome. If you are returning after previous engagement with the challenge, nice work! We are glad you are here.

This challenge is designed to push you out of your comfort zone, think critically about difficult topics, and grow in your understanding of the ways people and systems perpetuate (and have the power to eliminate) racism. We’re excited to invite you to this opportunity to dive deeper into racial equity and social justice.

View other challenges: Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12Day 13Day 14

Day 9: Homelessness

At YWCA, it is part of our work to help women and children facing homelessness. In the United States, hundreds of thousands of people face homelessness every night. However, this does not affect all demographics equally. Among the homeless population, there is an over-representation of people of color—especially black people—and this is nothing new.

The United States has a long history of allowing and enforcing homelessness on people of color. As early as colonizers landed in America, Indigenous peoples were forced from their lands and Africans were stolen from their homes to serve as slaves. Over a century later, freed Black Americans faced a new kind of homelessness in cities, reinforced by Jim Crow laws and low paying jobs. Incarceration and homelessness soon became a two-way pipeline for Black Americans, ushering in a “New Jim Crow” era after the original was marked unconstitutional.

Today, ongoing housing discrimination, gentrification, and the lasting effects of racially unjust policies of the past continue to put people of color at a greater risk for homelessness than White Americans. Read on to learn more about local housing statistics and what we can do to eliminate racial inequity in homelessness.

If you have…

Look at the statistics
of women and children served by YWCA to see how race and homelessness are interlinked in our community

Explore this timeline
showing historical racial disparities in homelessness

Watch this video
 on solutions for racial disparities in the homeless population


Once you have completed today’s challenge, we encourage you to take a moment to reflect.

  • How did the challenge make you feel?
  • What is something you learned?
  • Did you notice anything about yourself after taking the challenge?
  • Consider sharing this new awareness with a friend or group to help deepen your understanding of the information.

Share your thoughts on the challenge online using #YWCAEquityChallenge