50 Cent ain’t never lie…
“They say this is a big rich town… I just happened to come up smart.”
Slick and easy to sing, especially when it drops at a club during a crazy Hip-Hop set. But ever notice how when you walk out the party, a little tipsy from your choice of beverage (no judgment) there is a homeless brother or sister immediately outside the door. Get in your Uber and by the time you stop at the first light, there is a homeless brother or sister asking for change? Maybe you don’t do Uber and you hop on the train and there is that annoying brother or sister (stanking) asking for some spare change for something to eat? Stop by the bodega before you walk into your cozy over-priced (if you are in NYC) apartment, and again there is the local “bum” asking you to help him or her out with a little something?
They also say numbers don’t lie.
And they don’t. A recent study released by the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress published in January, stated that while Black people only make up about 13% of the nation’s population, they represent over 40% of America’s homeless population.
You like numbers? Well, so do we.
That means there were roughly 329.45 million people in this country according to the 2019 US Census Bureau’s population clock statistics and that individuals that consider themselves Black make up about 42.5 million of them. That is what 13% looks life, a small percentage. And while according to the study, 48% of the homeless population are white people who make up almost 77% of the country’s population. The disparity is simply outrageous.
The study reports that on any single night last year, “roughly 568,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. Nearly two-thirds (63%) were staying in sheltered locations—emergency shelters or transitional housing programs—and more than one-third (37%) were in unsheltered locations such as on the street, in abandoned buildings, or in other places not suitable for human habitation.”
This is one of those moments where you have to shake your head in disgust at yourself for not knowing this… and let’s face it not caring… And you also look at America and ask the same question the prophet Marvin Gaye asked in his 1971 hit, “What’s Going On?”
Check out the visuals that explain the epidemic.
As you can see, when you break down homelessness by race and only look at families affected, your heart should break:
Former heart surgeon and presidential candidate, Ben Carson, currently serves as Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The National Health Care for the Homeless Council stated this:
The crisis of homelessness would not exist but for the history of slavery, genocide, and white supremacist public policy. That 40% of the homeless population is Black/African American, though just 13% of the general US population, is no accident; it is the legacy of oppression. Moreover, research continues to substantiate what people of color have already known, that systemic and interpersonal racism in the health care industry leads to disparate health outcomes for people of color. If we are serious about ending homelessness and achieving health equity, we must center racial justice.
If you are interested in supporting the homeless there are a series of organizations that will allow individuals of interest to volunteer.