Community Led Planning and Development Program
The Community Led Planning and Development (CLPD) Program is an innovative project designed to address and redress racial inequity as it connects to experiences of homelessness and our systems of support. Monarch Housing Associates has partnered with National Innovation Service to bring this project to the Morris County CoC, Southern NJ CoC (Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland and Cape May), Monmouth County CoC and Bergen County CoC in addition to the Office of Homelessness Prevention.
The disproportionate impact of homelessness on communities of color is clearly evident across New Jersey where Black and African American residents make up about 13% of the state population and 50% of the population experiencing homelessness. This is a consistent trend seen in the last 7 years of Point-in-Time reports produced by Monarch Housing Associates. Despite targeted efforts to end homelessness and investment in best practices, communities have struggled to see reductions in the disproportionate impact of homelessness in their region. With 50% of the population experiencing homelessness identifying as Black or African American, a more nuanced look at the data through a racial equity lens highlights that program creation which fails to take into account the impact of race will continue to miss the mark and ending homelessness will remain elusive.
The CLPD program is designed to approach solution building from a new perspective. CLPD will test methods of Participatory Budgeting as a way to integrate individuals directly impacted by homelessness, particularly black and brown people impacted by homelessness, as co-creators of strategies and systems. To do this, the project will incorporate a number of elements:
- Building an understanding of the history of racial inequity in housing and systems contributing to overrepresentation of people of color in homelessness
- Creating an advisory committee of individuals directly impacted by homelessness to participate in, inform, and co-create system response
- Explore existing data and identify gaps to better understand those who are not adequately served
- Implement policy changes that codify the partnership between existing planning bodies and advisory boards of impacted individuals to create systems designed to end homelessness in policy, program development and system funding.
The impact of centuries of systemic racism and racialized violence cannot simply be reversed solely within the system of homeless services, or within a handful of years. But steps can be taken within our respective spheres of influence to redress the impacts we continue to see today. There are many ways to tackle and dismantle the framework of systemic racism that our systems operate within, and we understand there is no simple fix. A critical component of the CLPD program is a recognition that who is at the decision-making table matters. This project works to create collaborative environments for solution development with new experts: individuals directly impacted by homelessness. Through CLPD we aim to set the stage for a person-centered planning process that draws on the expertise of those most impacted by homelessness in policy setting, funding and oversight to enhance our system’s ability to effectively end homelessness for all people.