News, Resources, & Happenings at TAC — December 2021

Map with Closeup of State of California. Pacific Ocean to West. Nevada. Arizona. Utah to East.

Getting Real on Ending Disparities in Homeless Systems: The California Racial Equity Action Lab

TAC has officially launched the California Racial Equity Action Lab, or the REAL Initiative. REAL is a three-year statewide initiative whose goal is to eliminate racial disparities in 30 community homelessness systems, each a grantee of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency’s Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention program. In the first phase, TAC is assisting 34 Continuums of Care in developing racial equity goals, with additional, more intensive support provided to six communities in the cohort.

There are many ways to tangibly improve racial equity in homeless services. Our technical assistance with local communities in California will focus, for instance, on analyzing data from Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) and coordinated entry, so as to identify disparities in service delivery and target crisis response more effectively; on using a racial equity analysis tool when making budgetary, programmatic, and policy decisions; on engaging individuals with lived expertise to help understand and address racial inequities; and on grounding and funding homeless services within local organizations that already serve racially marginalized communities.

Racial disparities are a grand challenge for systems of care nationwide, including homeless crisis response systems. Social dynamics, biases and prejudices, overt discrimination, and a long legacy of systemic and institutional racism exacerbate homelessness for people of color, especially Native Americans, Black people, and Latinx people. REAL will foster transformative learning grounded in racial equity best practices, create an integrative and transformative space that supports California’s Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program grantees in translating these best practices into action, lift up community-led racial equity strategies, and promote collaboration to reduce racial disparities in homelessness systems while centering those who experience the greatest impact.

TAC team members working on this project include Gina Schaak, Nastacia’ Moore, and LaMont Green as co-leads. TAC has partnered with C4 Innovations, Abt Associates, the National Coalition for the Homeless, Racial Equity Partners, and the Housing Justice Collective to work with us on this massive, multi-year, statewide initiative to eliminate racial disparities in homelessness systems throughout California.

Working with Local Communities toward a National Goal: End Veteran Homelessness

In September 2021, the Department of Veterans Affairs Homeless Program Office (VA HPO) awarded TAC a technical assistance contract to support its efforts to end Veteran homelessness across the country. The mission of the VA HPO is to assist Veterans and their families in obtaining permanent and sustainable housing with access to high-quality health care and supportive services.

TAC, VA HPO, and partners will work together to provide direct support to communities, VA Medical Centers, and other stakeholders. We have seen communities build great expertise in reducing Veteran homelessness over past 10 years, which will help ensure that the support we provide is locally driven and carefully tailored to each community’s needs. TAC consultants will also assist in bringing VA HPO’s Strategic Plan to action in the coming year, working with agency staff as partners, subject matter experts, and resource curators. Throughout the year, we will assist with strategies to optimize the utilization of key VA resources that can be used to end Veteran homelessness. Senior Associate Ashley Mann-McLellan is TAC’s point of contact on this team effort.

TAC Staff in Action

Associate II Eric Gammons and Senior Associate Ayana Dilday Gonzalez recently conducted a site visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where they trained local HUD Emergency Solutions Grant providers on the specifics of ESG-CV allowable activities and reporting requirements; Senior Associate Lauren Knott helped lead a “Rapid Rehousing Landlord Engagement” training at the Point Source Youth Western Conference on Youth Homelessness; and Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion LaMont Green and Senior Associate Nastacia’ Moore prepared a Heart Equity Action Lab Racial Equity & Social Justice Tool for use by HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) communities.

Welcomes and Transitions

We are delighted to welcome Senior Associate Molly Batschelet, L.C.S.W., L.C.D.C., and Human Resources Manager Tia Maurissette to the TAC team!

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