Local leaders and community members are meeting in Minneapolis this afternoon to talk about racial disparities among people experiencing homelessness. Jeff Olivet with the Center for Social Innovation, the group hosting the discussion, says it’s crucial to hear first-hand from people suffering the trauma of homelessness because too often “what happens is we often have people who have not been homeless sitting in rooms making decisions on behalf of people who are homeless, you compound that with issues of race, you have white folks who have never been homeless sitting in rooms making decisions on behalf of people of color who are homeless.” Across the nation and locally, people of color are disproportionately more likely to experience homelessness. David Hewitt with the Office to End Homelessness in Hennepin County says “when we look at the one and half thousand people who would’ve been in our homeless shelters last night, as a general rule, 60 to 65% would be African American, which is disproportionate for our community–it’s about four times the rate that the general population would predict.” Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis are joining a national initiative, called Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities or SPARC, to examine root causes of these disparities. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Robert Lilligren with the Native American Community Development Institute are among the speakers set to participate in today’s discussion–which is open to the public. Here is more with Jeff Olivet.
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