Serving Our Community While Righting Disparities: A Note from Deb

Every day, we serve community members that are experiencing hunger and homelessness. The 2018 Wilder Homeless Study did not provide us with good news in our fight to end homelessness: we continue to see an increase in homelessness with the biggest increase being seen among adults over the age of 55. Many obstacles to maintaining housing were cited: 64% experiencing serious mental illness, 24% experiencing substance abuse and 57% living with chronic health conditions.
It also found that the availability of affordable housing is still a critical issue and that African Americans, American Indians and youth who identify as LGBTQ are particularly over-represented.
Our community has been struggling to address disparities for too many years. This can never be overstated as we continue to have some of the worst disparities in our country. In August of 2016, a Huffington Post article ranked Minnesota the second worst place for Black Americans to live based on homeownership, incarceration and unemployment rates. A 2009 national study by the Education Trust found that African American 4th grade reading scores were the third worst in the country with African American children in 47 states scoring higher on standardized reading tests. It has become clear that these disparities are caused by racism when adjusting for all other variables. It is our goal to address these atrocities rather than admire them as so many have done.
At House of Charity, we see this as a moral shortcoming of our community. We work hard to provide services within a culturally appropriate and empowering setting to provide advocacy and support in overcoming these extreme barriers. We are committed to ensuring that our staff reflects the communities we serve. Everything from food to services to crafts/art is informed by our residents and diners in order to create an environment that allows for growth and belonging. We also prioritize hiring among persons with lived experience in homelessness.
House of Charity staff are aware of the increase in hate crimes in our community and provide services within a trauma-informed framework. The bathroom facilities in our Food Centre are non-binary, and we are working to ensure that our artwork represents and honors the full diversity of who we are and serve.
The residents and diners at House of Charity are a microcosm of our world. Our community becomes stronger when we provide opportunities for every member to thrive. This is our ongoing goal at House of Charity in everything we do.