Ensuring Housing Justice For All
Fair, equitable, and safe housing for all is a cornerstone of social justice and a core program to YWCA Columbus. We envision a world where policy mechanisms ensure access to housing and sever the link between geography and opportunity.
YWCA Columbus operates two shelters – a shelter for families in crisis and a permanent supportive housing program for women with disabilities. We advocate for equitable housing policies that center Black, Indigenous, and people of color, disabled people, and other historically disenfranchised groups. Consider the following: on a single night in 2022, roughly 582,500 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. Six in ten (60%) were staying in sheltered locations—emergency shelters, safe havens, or transitional housing programs—and four in ten (40%) were in unsheltered locations. Expanding access to shelters necessitates expanding shelter services, and equitable funding from government partners. At YWCA Columbus, 80% of the heads of households we serve identify as women of color. Women, people of color, and queer people experience disproportionate rates of homelessness. Safe and accessible shelter programming is a need for Central Ohioans today.
Shelters alone cannot end the homelessness crisis. Investing in affordable housing and Black homeownership is a must. The U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the gap between white and Black homeownership is wider now than it was in 1960, when housing discrimination was rampant and legal. In 2022, 74.6% of white households owned their homes, compared with 45.3% of Black households — a gap of more than 29 points. In 1960, the white homeownership rate was 65% and the Black rate was 38%, a 27-point gap. Closing this gap is crucial for Black families to stabilize and build wealth. Currently, within the rental market, stable housing is difficult to find, with 72,493 “extremely low-income renter households” in Columbus and only 23,410 affordable units. Equitable housing is also a tool to end racial discrimination and de facto segregation: Ohio ranked the eighth worst for Black-white segregation in residential areas among all states in the U.S. Intentionally designing the Central Ohio region will help redefine that reality and create healthy, diverse communities where all people thrive.
2023-2024 Advocacy Agenda
Social Justice/Eliminating Racism
• Honesty in Ohio’s K-12 curriculum
• Equitable public safety
• Justice and equity for LGBTQ+ community
• Ensuring living wage for all
• Protecting reproductive healthcare
• Improving access to shelter programming, renting, and homeownership
• Children are kindergarten-ready
• Access to high-quality before-and-after school programs
• Family representation in policies