OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY,
“Habitat for Humanity is committed nationally to be part of the solution. Locally, our Habitat Affiliate stands with the Worcester Together Coalition to actively work to end racism and unconscious bias. Starting now, the Board of Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester, Inc. will actively engage with and listen to the experiences of our Black Homeowners, community leaders, staff, volunteers and friends. We will reach out to include more People of Color on our Board because we are stronger when all points of view, all experiences, and all communities join in our mission. We will look for opportunities to support Black-owned businesses. We will repeat these actions until we are making a difference. We will hold Habitat for Humanity, our Board and ourselves accountable for where we go from here. We will do better, because Black Americans deserve that.” – Jessica E. Murphy, Esq., Habitat for Humanity MW/GW, Past Board President
At the present time, 83% of our affordable and safe homes are female owned. In addition, 53% of the people we partner with for affordable housing are people of color. The photos to the right, highlight just a few of our Habitat homeowners.
To honor the historic pain caused by, and lives lost to racial inequality, our employees took part in a DEI training to learn more about social and racial injustice. On August 17, 2021, our administrative offices and our ReStores were closed for the day to bring all staff together for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training day. The DEI training was led by experts who covered the topics of Overcoming Unconscious Bias, Embracing Diversity & Inclusion and so much more. This was a good step taken in our commitment to work towards ending racism and unconscious bias.
A basic understanding of the role that Federal, State, and Local laws played in the current state of housing and poverty is a critical background for all Habitat employees. All Habitat for Humanity MW/GW staff have watched the video below, Segregated By Design. Moving forward, will be included in onboard training for new hires.
How historic housing discrimination against Black Americans contributes to racial inequities today. Panelists Richard Rothstein, Alexi McCammond and Dwayne Spencer discuss the history of anti-Black racism and government-sponsored segregation in housing in the U.S., and how that history is fundamental to issues of housing and equity today.
+You Highlight: Housing crisis meets “shecession”. The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating housing unaffordability, and women, particularly those of color, are bearing the brunt of it. Katherine O’Regan, professor of public policy and planning at New York University, explains the cause and unequal impact of these dual crises in this conversation hosted by Habitat for Humanity International. Listen to a short clip here.
Who Has Access to Homeownership? Having a safe, decent home has a life-changing impact on families, yet half of U.S. adults face barriers to accessing the stability and security that affordable homeownership provides. Habitat for Humanity International compiled a short video highlighting national homeownership trends and how factors like race play a role. Locally, 53% of HFH MWGW’s affordable and safe homes are owned by people of color, and 83% of our local homes are female owned. To learn more about the US trend, watch this short clip from Habitat for Humanity.
In light of recent events and the ongoing challenge of systemic racism in our country, new attention is being brought to Juneteenth.
Juneteenth, a blend of the words June and nineteenth, honors the end of slavery in the United States. Celebrated on June 19, it marks the day in 1865 that Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas, and informed slaves there that the Civil War had ended and slavery was abolished.
To honor the historic pain caused by, and lives lost to racial inequity, from this point on Habitat for Humanity MW/GW will offer all employees a “paid volunteer day” to celebrate Juneteenth. We are asking staff to use this opportunity to learn, connect, and participate in community action surrounding social and racial injustice.
“THE STATE OF THE NATION’S HOUSING” REPORT
“The State of the Nation’s Housing” report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University shows how the pandemic has further exposed shortages of affordable housing and widening racial inequalities around ownership, access & wealth. View the full report here.
HISTORIC HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IN THE U.S.
Although systemic racism existed in America for hundreds of years before the 20th century, the policies of the past 100 years have been incredibly destructive to people of color, especially Black individuals, who have been denied the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families due to historic discrimination in U.S. housing policy.
Too many among the general public aren’t aware that the egregious racial disparities in the U.S. that exist today — in education, employment, health and wealth — are linked to Black families’ exclusion from opportunities to purchase an affordable home and live in non-segregated neighborhoods.