Emergency shelter is a critical component of the homeless services system. Shelters allow people experiencing homelessness to access immediate needs like sleep, food, medical care, and safety. Effective emergency shelters are also oriented towards attaining permanent housing. However, people of color are often overrepresented in shelter settings, which reflects greater racial inequities in society; providers should ensure that their services are equitable so as to not perpetuate these racial disparities.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness has developed a flowchart for providers to examine racial equity through the lens of their emergency shelter’s coordinated entry connections, diversion practices, barriers to shelter, shelter exits, and returns to shelter.