Housing Inequities, Race and Health

Our Community of Practice on Homelessness brings together 200+ community, institutional and corporate leaders to build alliances and discover new tools to end homelessness and address racial health disparities.

 


Topic 2

Addressing Housing Inequities, Race and Health

A conversation with:

  • Brandon Scott – Baltimore City Council President
  • Charisse Lue – Attorney, Human Right to Housing Project, Public Justice Center
  • Gregory Branch, MD, MPH, CPE, FACP – Health Officer and Director of Health and Human Services, Baltimore County
  • Kevin Lindamood – CEO and President, Health Care for the Homeless

Together, we explored these questions 

  • Why is racism in housing so uncomfortable to confront and address?
  • How have individuals in your own respective fields, past and present, contributed to discriminatory practices in housing, and what are your personal and professional responsibilities in addressing racism in housing?
  • When it comes to evictions, we often paint those who are evicted as either agents or victims of their own circumstances.  What is the challenge with both of these perspectives, and what are our responsibilities in changing these narratives?

From our panelists

"You cannot have a conversation about Baltimore without talking about structural racism...It doesn't matter if I hire the best Housing Director or Homeless Services Director if that agency's policies and practices were written 20, 30, 40, 60 years ago. We know they were written by people who did not value people of color, women, poor people, homeless people and for sure didn't value members of our LGBTQ community." - Brandon Scott

“It is so easy to evict someone in Maryland. Eviction causes poverty. It causes your credit history to run amok. It causes you to lose your job. Health issues. Our responsibility is to make sure protections are in place. You could be one health risk away, one paycheck away, one blown tire away. It should not be that easy... Last week 50 families were evicted even with the CDC order.” - Charisse Lue

"As a physician, I learned something in practice that I didn't learn in medical school; Housing is a vital sign. Housing is critical to life. We know that the vital signs are blood pressure, your pulse, your respiration, temperature. And we understand that if one of those goes out of whack, that could be life threatening. And that is exactly what housing means." - Dr. Gregory Branch