A few months ago, the COVID-19 crisis began. We feared this deadly disease would significantly affect the homeless population, given that our neighbors living on our streets are so vulnerable. The support from you and many other generous Californians allowed us to meet their needs during this crisis.
Now, along with the continued COVID-19 crisis, we are experiencing our country’s largest marches for racial equity in decades. We know that the outcries in the last two weeks are a different crisis than the COVID-19 crisis.
With COVID-19, we sprung to action quickly. Setting up shelters and motels, providing food delivery programs, and still outreaching on the streets. In the past few months, we moved nearly 600 people off the streets and into apartments.
With this crisis of racial inequity, our inclination is also to spring into action quickly. However, we first acknowledge that this crisis didn’t happen a few weeks ago. It has been a crisis for the last hundreds of years. And, second, we want to make sure we don’t create token change out of emotion, but instead create long-term systemic change.
So, we plan on taking a path forward in two ways:
First, as we work toward long-term systemic change, we will stay focused on our Mission — ending homelessness for individuals, families, and communities. We are not a political advocacy organization. However, we are committed to doing whatever it takes to end homelessness. And, if racial inequity — or gender, or orientation, or age inequity — is causing people’s homelessness, then we will stand up and speak out against that inequity.
And, second, we created a guide for how we promote long-term systemic change. It is: “listen, learn, and lead.”
Listen — We will listen to each other, our staff, and the people we serve. We will hear about life experiences, feelings, struggles, and celebrations.
Learn — We will learn about ourselves, our agency, and our communities. We will examine our demographics — our staff team, the people we serve, and our board. We will also learn how we can promote equity, and how we can instill a culture of equity at PATH.
Lead — We will lead. We will continue to provide services and build housing for people struggling with homelessness. We will also work toward ending systemic barriers that are causing homelessness. Because that’s what ending homelessness means.
So, thank you for being part of the PATH and PATH Ventures family. Thank you for supporting our work to serve and house the most vulnerable people in our communities. And, join us as we listen, learn, and lead in our effort to end homelessness.