Latinx homelessness rises significantly.

Our strategic plan emphasizes equity driven operations, and we pay close attention to homelessness trends among minority grounps in the communities we serve. A recent National Alliance to End Homelessness  study found that:

Latinx homelessness has increased over the past two years.

Specifically, it grew 7.6 percent in last year’s Point in Time (PIT) count, the national census of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night. (As always, PITs undercount people experiencing homelessness because they cannot include those living “doubled up” with family, friends, or neighbors). In line with national trends, Latinx individuals make up 21 percent of our clients, an 8 percent increase since 2019.

Who Are Latinx People?

“Latinx” is a gender-neutral term that BEDS and many others use in reference to the population traditionally referenced as “Latino/Latina” or “Hispanic.” Regardless of the term, the Alliance emphasizes that it includes people who “represent a diverse array of cultures, languages, and races, with varying acculturation and immigration statuses.” Members may be native-born, span a range of national origins, and have different experiences than others. With that said, broad socioeconomic trends can affect them as a whole, and several factors have threatened their ability to stay housed.

Why is Latinx homelessness increasing?

The Alliance report cites several reasons including:

  • Lack of Affordable Housing: Latinx households are more likely than White ones to be severely rent burdened (using 50 percent or more of their income to rent) and undergo evictions.
  • Lack of Income: Latinx people make lower incomes than the White population and are more likely to work seasonal jobs with inconsistent wages. Some studies have also found that they are more likely to experience wage theft. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Latinx workers also experienced higher unemployment rates than White ones.
  • Lack of Access to Services: Latinx households face barriers to benefits to government benefits programs and human services. These can include language differences, a lack of awareness of community resources, ineligibility for programs because of immigration status, and/or hesitance to apply due to legal effects and/or stigma of being labeled a “public charge.”

We’ve seen all these factors among our clients, and our services help them regain and sustain housing.

How Does BEDS Help Latinx People?

We provide Stabilization, Emergency, Interim Housing, Transitional Housing, and Supportive Housing services to clients regardless of race and ethnicity. We take special steps to ensure that Latinx households are aware of and can access our programs. These include:

  • Hiring Spanish Speakers: BEDS employs several Spanish-speaking staff members is committed to recruiting and retaining Spanish-speaking individuals at all levels of its programs.
  • Developing Culture Competencies: We also strive to learn about the specific needs of our Latinx clients and find ways to meet them.
  • Reaching Farther into Our Communities: Our Community Health Workers and other staff regularly attend community events and build relationships with municipal organizations, healthcare providers, and human services to share information about our work and mutually refer clients with.

You can support our work for Latinx people experiencing homelessness and imminent risk of homelessness here.

Blog post written by: Grant Suhs, BEDS Plus Communication Specialist