Today, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released its Equity Action Plan. This plan was developed in accordance with Executive Order 13985, which was issued by President Biden on January 20, 2021, and submitted to the White House this January.
“President Biden has challenged every part of the federal government to advance equity systematically,” said USICH Executive Director Jeff Olivet. “We at the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness commit to taking the necessary steps to ensure equity within our organization and pursue changes in federal policies that have created and perpetuated racial disparities, resulting in communities of color being more likely to experience homelessness.”
USICH believes homelessness will not end until everyone has an equal opportunity to live in a safe and affordable home. Research shows that racial equity has benefits for society. Still, people of color have been systematically excluded and denied equitable access to not only housing but the systems that help people stay housed: health care, education, and employment, to name a few.
The equity action plan aims to:
- Establish racial equity as a core part of the upcoming Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, with corresponding goals and priorities within the plan that incorporate racial equity.
- Engage tribal sovereign nations by developing an advisory group, holding facilitated convenings, and reestablishing our interagency working group on Native American homelessness.
- Strengthen internal operations, starting with assessment of the current climate of equity to identify areas where USICH can model the operational behavior we encourage communities and partners to exemplify in advancing racial equity. Further exploring opportunities to develop a Civil Rights Office will enable the agency to improve advanced civil rights and racial equity.