The rate at which residents receive emergency housing from service providers funded by the City of St. Louis Department of Human Services
Black residents are nearly four times as likely to be homeless as white residents.
A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.
For Homelessness, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean black and white residents are equally likely to experience homelessness. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal; we also want to improve outcomes for all.
What does this indicator measure?
Homelessness measures the rate at which residents receive emergency housing from service providers funded by the City of St. Louis Department of Human Services per 1,000 residents. Emergency housing includes shelters, transitional housing, rapid rehousing, and permanent supportive housing, which combines affordable housing with support services to address the needs of chronically homeless people. Throughout 2016, a total of 6,007 residents received emergency housing, which translates to a rate of 19.3 emergency housing recipients per 1,000 residents.
People who received emergency housing per 1,000 residents in St. Louis City.
|People who received emergency housing
|People who received emergency housing per 1,000 residents
|3.712 to 1
Data Source: Department of Human Services, City of St. Louis and American Community Survey 1-year estimates, 2016.
What does this analysis mean?
Black residents are nearly four times as likely to experience homelessness as white residents. Black residents are the most likely to experience homelessness, at a rate of 32 emergency housing recipients per 1,000 residents, followed by Native Americans (27.6 per 1,000 residents), and multiracial residents (19.8 per 1,000 residents). Asian residents are the least likely to experience homelessness, with 1.1 emergency housing recipients per 1,000 residents, followed by Hispanics (8.45 per 1,000 residents), and white residents (8.6 per 1,000 residents). If rates of homelessness were equitable, there would be 3,401 fewer black residents in need of emergency housing services.
Data Note: This metric does not count those homeless individuals that do not seek or receive emergency housing services. Based on the 2017 and 2018 Point in Time Counts, between 10-11% of the known homeless were living on the street, and were not receiving emergency housing.
Why does Homelessness matter?
Homelessness occurs when people lack safe, stable, and affordable housing. Research shows people who experience homelessness are more likely to have poor physical and mental health. Homeless individuals are more frequently hospitalized for physical and mental illness, as well as substance abuse. Housing instability makes it harder for people to manage their existing health issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma. In addition, children experiencing homelessness are more likely to be chronically absent from school and perform lower on tests.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
The Ferguson Commission’s calls to action related to ending homelessness include:
Questions for further investigation
- Why is there a racial disparity in Homelessness?
- What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Homelessness?
- What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Homelessness?
How can I learn more about this issue?
The City of St. Louis Continuum of Care Point in Time Committee is required by HUD to conduct an annual Point in Time Count and Housing Inventory Chart, which counts the number of homeless individuals and the beds available from service providers. During the 2017 Point in Time Count, volunteers counted 1,336 individuals in shelters and on the street in a single night. There were 172 families with children. During the 2018 Point in Time Count, volunteers counted 949 individuals in shelters and on the street. There were 112 families with children.