Final Survey Results Released Feb 2020
In the summer of 2019, the Data Committee of the Nashville-Davidson CoC administered a voluntary survey to staff across member agencies. Our goal was to learn more about the homeless service workforce and take a beginning look at workforce equity and inclusion across agencies, with a focus on racial equity. HUD prioritizes funding to communities that are assessing their systems for racial disparities in services offered and outcomes achieved (and, where found, developing action plans to address them). This workforce survey is one part of our CoC’s effort to conduct these assessments.
We asked respondents for demographic information, including race, gender, ability, and lived experience. We also asked about perceptions of how well those working in homeless services reflect people served, perceptions of equity across hiring and advancement, and barriers and facilitators to participating in professional development opportunities.
We found that:
- The majority of respondents were White – 74% of frontline staff and 82% of senior management.
- Among different aspects of lived experiences asked about, 13% reported having lived experience with homelessness.
- There was more agreement that frontline staff reflected the race, ethnicity, and lived experiences of people served than staff in supervisory or management roles.
- On average, staff of color reported less opportunity to move up or be promoted in their agency.
Findings such as these are not uncommon in human service agencies. Across the country, the homeless service field is working on tackling racial inequity, and a number of workforce reports show similar trends. Although we are not alone in these challenges, we hope to work together to address them. Based on these and other findings, the Data Committee drafted specific recommendations for member programs, committees, and the CoC to:
- Develop human resources policies and procedures around recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting people of color;
- Provide quality training for all staff related to equity, inclusion, and social justice; and
- Prioritize equity in community wide planning.
A meeting was held on October 30, 2020 to solicit feedback from management staff at Nashville agencies, and get replies to the following:
- What else is your agency already doing to improve diversity of the workforce?
- How do you evaluate and address disparities in promotion and advancement?
- How do you create accessible and equitable opportunities for people with lived experience of homelessness?
- Do you have any other recommendations in light of your experiences, trainings, or initiatives?
On November 18, members of Nashville’s Homelessness Planning Council unanimously approved the plan, posted for the public below. If you have any questions, or additional input, please send to Suzie Tolmie, Homeless Coordinator at MDHA email@example.com with subject heading Workforce Survey.