The NPH community envisions a future where every single person lives in a safe, stable, and affordable home – especially our low-income communities and Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/e, Asian, and other communities of color. To achieve this, we must enact solutions that are rooted in racial equity and economic justice, with the goal of building inclusive, thriving communities that embrace belonging for everyone – because housing justice is racial justice.
What Does a Racial Equity Focus Mean?
A racial equity focus on our work means that it’s not enough to only advocate for affordable housing; what’s needed is a holistic approach, one that accounts for all of the conditions that impact housing and what people need in order to thrive in their homes and communities. We must start by facing and understanding our nation’s history of slavery and genocide and its aftermath; decades of exclusionary public policies; institutionalized racism; and the shutting out of communities of color from meaningful opportunities to thrive. These factors, which took root at systemic and societal levels, have created an uneven playing field, causing economic inequities to run rampant with an ever-widening racial wealth gap and homelessness on the rise.
It’s Not Enough to Simply Do No Harm
With our nation’s long history of both covert and overt racism, we must work to proactively repair the wrongs of our past. It’s not enough to do no harm; we must strive to address the root causes that have created disproportionate burdens, racial disparities, and exclusion in our housing systems, policies, and practices. Which public policies, investments, and programs have upheld and continue to advance segregation, racism, and disenfranchisement in our housing system? Which beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes remain responsible for our nation’s longtime demons of racism in housing and other interrelated systems? We must also understand and address our history so that past wrongs are not perpetuated, with the goal of moving toward an inclusive and transformative future for everyone.
NPH Has Answered the Call
As the leading regional membership organization for the Bay Area’s affordable housing industry and movement, we are uniquely positioned to magnify our collective impacts and ability to advance racial justice in the Bay Area. For over 40 years, NPH has brought our industry together around capacity-building programs, working groups, trainings, community outreach, policy advocacy, campaigns, and initiatives to advance racial equity and inclusion. Building upon prior iterations of this work, NPH launched our Racial Equity Initiative in 2017, deepening how we approach and embed racial equity in all aspects of our work. Through this initiative, we continue to develop timely and relevant racial equity programming and strategies with an eye toward transformation at the personal, interpersonal, organizational, industry, and eventually, structural levels.
NPH embeds a racial equity lens across the fabric of all our work, beginning with an internal process to build a conscious racial equity organizational practice within each of our departments and teams. From there, we’ve explored how to help diversify our industry; advance more equitable practices and policies; lift up resident-facing teams of staff; and promote a culture of inclusion and belonging within our member organizations. With the collective power and support of NPH’s member organizations and partnerships, we also strive to advance racial equity goals through public policy advocacy, campaigns, public engagement, narrative shift, and power-building, movement-oriented strategies. This work includes efforts to cede power to silenced voices and center those voices.
It Starts With Me and You
Together with our members, we can create the public support and political will needed to advance housing, economic, and racial justice in our region. We must begin with our own individual work and our own organizations to shift power, transform our communities, and in turn create an industry and movement that is at the forefront of change and racial equity work in the Bay Area.
Want to learn more about NPH’s racial equity initiatives? Check out our REI one-pager for a quick reference on our REI programs and offerings.