COMMITMENT TO EQUITY, INCLUSION, AND
We're ALL In This Together
The Springs Alliance Drop-In Center is passionately focused on serving the vulnerable and ignored populations in Colorado Springs. However, despite our best efforts and the selfless work of others, the reality is that conditions in much of Colorado Springs are getting worse. Colorado Springs is increasingly divided into separate and unequal places, and we do not all have the same access to resources. Across Colorado Springs, too many people are struggling daily for the things most take for granted—safe spaces, food security, a living wage, affordable housing, health care, and quality education.
This is why we at Springs Alliance have made a commitment to advance social and economic equity by centering social justice for every action and decision we make for the community. This is a long-term commitment to base all of our policy and program decisions on achieving the goal to advance equity, diversity, inclusion, and opportunity for all Colorado Springians—especially Black and Brown communities - hit hardest by relentless poverty under oppressive systems.
For Springs Alliance, equity means prioritizing vulnerable and ignored populations within already vulnerable and ignore populations. It means standing in fierce solidarity with unhoused BIPOC communities. The word "ignored" is used intentionally here as racism, houselessness, hunger, and poverty (to name a few) are policy choices and broken systems.
We will continue to fight for affordable housing, extending dignity and grace to all, reeducating the public on houselessness, hunger, and poverty, and increasing food security by correcting the system imbalances. We see broken systems across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic ties in every section and sub-section of society.
Serving unhoused and vulnerable communities is a big equity issue given that individuals experiencing houselessness are some of the most marginalized and ignored people in our society.
Most importantly, addressing equity is not just a conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion, but rather it is about dismantling harmful and oppressive systems to address real inequity. With respect to houselessness, it is important we look at race because the disparity in unhoused numbers is staggering nationally and even more so in Colorado Springs as people of color experience houselessness at significantly higher rates. For example, while 14% of the U.S. population is Black, these strong wonderful people represent a remarkable 40% of the homeless population in the country. Additionally, Black individuals makeup 23.5% of the
population experiencing homelessness despite being only
5.3% of the general population. (CCFH)
It's important to understand the historical context of institutional racism that has led to the structural inequities faced by unhoused people of color. Community members have an obligation to investigate the policies and procedures that continue to lead to structural inequity. It is here where we can best lead and effect change. Housing alone will not address houselessness. We must work as a community to address root causes of houselessness such as systemic racism, hunger, poverty, lack of living wage or employment, mass incarceration, lack of empathy and understanding, white supremacy, addiction, mental illness, trauma, domestic violence, and policy choices - to name a few. Addressing the unhoused with the lens of equity requires us to let go of old racist systems....for those that wholly include people of color.
Springs Alliance will continue to reflect and learn how to completely invest our commitment to equity via all our work - which includes the community-wide effort to end houselessness. We will continue to humble ourselves and learn how to best support and love all members of our community - by working closely with community members and listening with our whole hearts. We look forward to future dialogue with the unhoused community; Black, Brown, Indiginous, LGBTQIA communities, and all other community members and nonprofit leaders. It's vital we work together to dismantle broken systems driving houselessness in favor of permanent equitable solutions to housing and food insecurity, especially in BIPOC communities.
Only then will we see transformative and sustainable change.