SPARC Supporting Partnerships for AntiRacist Communities: Phase 1 Findings


CENTER FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION | March 2018 | Jeffrey Olivet; Marc Dones; Molly Richard; Catriona Wilkey; Svetlana Yampolskaya; Maya Beit-Arie; Lunise Joseph

People of color are dramatically more likely than White people to experience homelessness in the United States. This is no accident; it is the result of centuries of structural racism that have excluded historically oppressed people—particularly Black and Native Americans—from equal access to housing, community supports, and opportunities for economic mobility.

In September 2016, the Center for Social Innovation launched SPARC (Supporting Partnerships for AntiRacist Communities) to understand and respond to racial inequities in homelessness. Through research and action in six communities, SPARC has begun a national conversation about racial equity in the homelessness sector.

Through an ambitious mixed-methods (quantitative and qualitative) study, the SPARC team documented high rates of homelessness among people of color and began to map their pathways into and barriers to exit from homelessness. The team analyzed 111,563 individual records of people from HMIS (homeless management information systems) in SPARC partner communities (representing data aggregated across years 2013-2015); administered a provider workforce demographic survey; collected 148 oral histories of people of color experiencing homelessness; and conducted 18 focus groups in six communities across the United States.

Carrie Felton