Racial disparity is not only shown in the data, but in the way people in Polk County experience the homeless response system. Black individuals report discrimination in housing services and programs, both explicitly stated or through implicit bias in community systems. It’s clear that people of color, and Black folks in particular, experience homelessness in Polk County differently than white individuals and perhaps often lack equitable access to services and supports.
The Iowa Civil Rights Commission produced fair housing education and outreach materials in 10 languages predominantly spoken and read by refugees in Iowa. Housing discrimination is prohibited on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. These flyers and videos produced in partnership with EMBARC and Genesis Youth Foundation help residents recognize racial discrimination in housing— and take action.
We must dismantle institutional racism to end homelessness in Polk County. That’s why Homeward is committed to systemic, intersectional change to end racial disparities in the homeless sector and beyond. Read more about racial inequity in homelessness below, and seek out our Racial Equity Committee for more information or to take action!