December 2016

Why are so many black families homeless in central Ohio?

By Rita Price
The Columbus Dispatch

Nearly three-quarters of families served in Franklin County homeless shelters are black, a share deeply disproportionate to the overall population, which is just 22 percent black.

Local and national advocates for the homeless gathered last week at the King Arts Complex to discuss the disparity and to start what they see as a long overdue conversation about race and housing stability in central Ohio.

“How does that happen? How did all of us in this community allow that to happen?” said Stephanie Hightower, president and CEO of the Columbus Urban League. “We should all be saying, ‘There’s something wrong.'”

Columbus is among 10 U.S. cities joining a project on racism and homelessness led by the Center for Social Innovation, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit group that focuses on public-health issues. The aim is to use data analysis, training and community discussion to develop a plan for new strategies to address the imbalance.

“We cannot afford the consequences of inaction,” said Jason Reece, an assistant professor at Ohio State University who studies race and ethnicity in cities. “We see prosperity and inequality growing side by side.”

Read the full story via The Columbus Dispatch

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