Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Learning Collaborative

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council is pleased to announce a new initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). As the workforce becomes more diverse, managing diversity in a way that all see as fair and inclusive will be an important management tool to recruit and retain a talented team. It will also give organizations the ability to proactively manage and prevent workplace tensions that result from some staff members being treated in ways that they consider to be inequitable. Moreover, we know that historical and present-day racial discrimination is a principal contributor to American homelessness, and that people of color face more barriers to escaping homelessness than white people. Indeed, the movement to end homelessness necessitates that we adopt anti-racist principles. In this context, it has never been more important to confront how our own institutions both contribute to the tragedy of racism and can resist it through concrete practices.

Launching in January 2019, the Council will convene a learning collaborative of approximately ten Health Care for the Homeless health centers and others who share an interest in embracing anti-racist practices in their organizational culture and programming. We invite you to learn more below and consider applying by COB Tuesday, December 18, 2018.


Eligible organizations must be Health Care for the Homeless 330(h) health centers, medical respite programs, or other health centers that serve a significant number of people experiencing homelessness. Learning Collaborative members must designate two staff to participate in its activities, at least one of whom must occupy a senior-level position.

While not a requirement, there is an expectation that your organization will send at least one representative to the 2019 National Health Care for the Homeless Conference in Washington, DC, which will include a half-day “learning lab” dedicated to this topic (May 25).


As a result of this initiative, we hope participants will:

  • Comprehend the nexus of historical housing segregation, structural racism, ongoing racist policies, and the perpetuation of homelessness in the US;
  • Adopt changes in formal policies and procedures to reflect anti-racist hiring practices and organizational culture;
  • Have tools to effectively address racism and privilege within their staff;
  • Learn about programs that tailor their services to recognize the unique needs of their patients who are people of color.


The Council seeks diversity among applicants, including health centers at various stages in addressing DEI, in addition to diversity in geography, patient population, staff size, and organizational type. We will also assess how dedicated and capable applicants appear to be in confronting racism in their organizations and communities, regardless of their progress to-date.


Because achieving the goals of this collaborative requires top-down action to effect actual change, it is important that at least one representative occupies a leadership role at their respective agencies.

The Collaborative will meet by videoconference up to six times in the following schedule, starting at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time each day (11am CT, 10am MT, 9am PT). This constitutes the first Wednesday of each month with the exception of January. By submitting an application, you agree to attend these meetings.

  • January 16*
  • February 6
  • March 6
  • April 3
  • May 1
  • June 5

The conference (May 22-25) and its dedicated Learning Lab (May 25) may serve as the de facto in-person gathering of the Collaborative. These meetings will address topics such as: an overview of the intersection of racism and homelessness; HR and hiring practices; data analysis on racial equity; programming to target clients of underrepresented races; and training staff in anti-racist values.

Council staff dedicated to this initiative are Bobby Watts, CEO, and Michael Durham, Technical Assistance Manager. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.