Racial Disparities in the Homeless Services System
The geographic area covered by the Cape Cod and Islands Continuum of Care (CoC) – Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties – has a combined population of slightly over 242,000 people; 92% are White, 4% are Black, and 4% are Hispanic. A Racial Disparities Analysis recently conducted by the Barnstable County Department of Human Services determined that Black and Hispanic persons are disproportionately represented among homeless individuals and families on the Cape and Islands. Relying on data obtained from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and the 2019 Point in Time (PIT) Homeless Count, the analysis identified disparities across all homeless programs and services. Black and Hispanic persons accessed individual shelter and homelessness prevention services at disproportionate rates compared to their percentage in the general population. Black and Hispanic families were also disproportionately represented in the Family Emergency Shelter System. The results of this Racial Disparities analysis will inform future regional homelessness policies.