The fact that systemic racism pervades the United States does not mean that there are not wealthy people of color. Nor does it mean that there are not poor white people. It also doesn’t mean that people who have wealth have not worked hard to get where they are. What it does mean is that white people have historically faced and continue to face far less obstacles to achieving socioeconomic prosperity compared to people of color. This reality has persisted across generations, resulting in white people as a whole inheriting far more generational wealth than people of color, racial disparity growing wider and wider. The resources below first explore the concept and reality of systemic racism in the United States then delve into how systemic racism intersects with housing.
Racist housing policies not only segregated cities across the United States decades ago but also impact the way we as a society experience housing today. With less generational wealth to tap into and less of a socioeconomic safety net to fall back on, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color experience houselessness in Denver at disproportionate rates. For example, although the Denver population, in 2019, was only 5.1% Black or African American, Denver’s houseless population was 21.2% Black or African American.
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(Source: Metro Denver Homeless Initiative’s 2019 Point in Time Survey, p. 45)