A focus on equity for the 6th annual your way home summit

Jeff Olivet, senior advisor to the Center for Social Innovation shows data on the impact of homelessness on African American, Latino and white communities. Photo by Tamela Luce.

“If we can figure out how to solve homelessness for a young, black trans woman, we can solve it for everyone else.”

Jeff Olivet, a nationally recognized expert in homelessness, behavioral and public health and senior advisor to the Center for Social Innovation delivered the above quote at the 6th annual Your Way Home Summit held on June 8, 2018.

The room - packed with housing providers, landlords, county officials, consumers and funders - was rapt as Jeff presented hard data on how people of color, and especially those in the African American community, experience homelessness at much higher rates than white people. 

Advancing Equity was the theme for this year's summit, and followed the release of "Unlocking Doors to Homelessness Prevention," a report released earlier in the year that found race plays a critical role in eviction and homelessness rates in Montgomery County.

Since established in 2014, Your Way Home Montgomery County has created and adopted core strategies effective in ending homelessness, including a housing first approach, coordinated entry and rapid re-housing, among others.

The summit served as a launching point for its next step:  to proactively combat, in meaningful and authentic ways, the impact of historical and ongoing institutionalized discrimination in housing practices as well as the lack of affordable housing.

As Your Way Home moves into its sixth year of implementation, it will embrace a new strategic framework that expands its work to include addressing the crisis of affordable housing, homelessness prevention and equity.

Your Way Home's goal, through research and partnership with the Center for Social Intelligence, is to develop a better understanding of the system's role in perpetuating the disproportionate impact of homelessness on certain demographic groups in Montgomery County.

This work will represent the first step to outline how Your Way Home - as a public-private partnership - might meaningfully address the impact of discrimination and institutional racism in its work.