March 18, 2021

Current ECHO Chair Alberta Phillips writes: Consider that African Americans make up a plurality – the largest share – of those experiencing homelessness in Austin: 36%. How is that possible in a city in which Black residents comprise roughly 8% of Austin’s total population?

Mathematically, that is more than four times our numbers in the overall population. By contrast, non-Hispanic whites make up 33%; and Latinos, 25% of those experiencing homelessness. Asians, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and multi-racial persons make up the remainder.

Those figures serve as a reality check that cannot be explained without looking at the root causes, which for too long have kept African Americans at the bottom of the pile of people in Austin who are prioritized for housing. Historically, unsheltered white residents have received such priority.