A study has revealed that, in Illinois, African Americans are eight times more likely than whites to be homeless. With the help of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data, Housing Action Illinois reveals that Illinois constitutes 14 percent of African Americans. The state of condition of them is poor as 30 percent of them live in poverty while 59 percent to be homeless.
Sharon Legenza, executive director of Housing Action Illinois say “We knew that black people experience homelessness more often than white people, but these numbers show just how severe the gap is.” Housing Action Illinois released the “Black and White Disparities in Homelessness” last week. This policy brief tells how much probability is for an African American to be homeless than a white person in any region of the state.
A news release was also accompanied by the report which says “Chicago has the highest disparity, followed by DeKalb County and then Rockford, Winnebago, and Boone counties.” The reason for it is not as simple as people may think. According to policy director of Housing Action Illinois Bob Palmer, “There are a lot of systemic inequities at work here, including decades of segregation and discrimination and a history of vastly unequal government investments.”
Palmer is optimistic that these issues could be solved if there is enough political will and investing in resources. According to the brief, another reason for the homelessness is the racial wage gap and soaring housing costs. An African American makes 52 cents for every dollar a white person makes statewide. This shows the clear racial wage gap.
As a result of the racial wage gap, African Americans can’t keep up with the living costs. Therefore, they are more likely to be subjected to eviction, which can result in homelessness.