With homelessness disproportionately impacting communities of color, particularly Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic/Latin(a)(o)(x) individuals and families, the nine Bay Area counties must identify policies and resources to address the underlying inequities that exists in the region. The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that our public health system and our homeless system of care are under-prepared to address the larger systemic issues.
Regional efforts must recognize the fundamental imbalance that exists in our safety net systems and consider policies and practices that can remedy those imbalances and better service Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic/Latin(a)(o)(x) communities. With Black people making up only 6% of the Bay Area population yet close to 30% of the homeless population, it is clear that the current systems fail to address the disproportionality. The reality is that Black people face anti-Black racism and are impacted by the long history of policy decisions that have perpetuated racism in the Bay Area (for example, redlining). And with the public health crisis of COVID-19, Black people are at a greater risk of not only getting COVID-19, but also are more likely to die from it (1.3 times more than the rate of the general population).