Veterans Affairs hiring racial diversity consultants to fight homelessness
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Amid a worrying rise in the number of homeless veterans, the Veterans Health Administration is seeking to hire racial diversity consultants to help “transform” its homeless programs “into a racially equitable and just organization.”
“Creating racially equitable systems demands that systems not simply be diverse, but that they be explicitly anti-racist,” the VHA’s Homeless Programs Office (HPO) said in a contract opportunity document.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development found an uptick in the number of homeless veterans in 2020 after the numbers had been declining for a decade, Military Times reported. More than 37,000 veterans did not have stable housing at the beginning of 2020.
The VHA, a branch of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), posted the contract opportunity for a veteran-owned small business or firm on April 27.
In this April 18, 2020, file photo, tents line a sidewalk on Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco. A coalition in California is proposing legislation to boost taxes on wealthy multinational corporations to raise more than $2 billion a year to end homelessness. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
“In June 2020, following the continued spate of police violence against Black Americans, several HPO staff, as well as frontline VA medical center (VAMC) homeless programs social workers expressed a strong need and desire to confront the trauma and barriers such as inequitable access to housing and care, that systemic racism presented for Veterans and staff alike.
In response, the VHA HPO established the Racial Equity and Racial Justice Workgroup. The vision of the workgroup is that the injustices and traumas caused by generations of structural racism no longer drive homelessness and housing disparities for Black, Indigenous, and Veterans of Color,” the contract opportunity document reads.
The contractor will assist the HPO “in providing racially equitable services to Veterans and identify opportunities to address disparities caused by systemic racism” and will “conduct a document review to [identify] opportunities in which racial equity and racial justice can be implemented.”
“This review will also identify instances where racism or disparate outcomes may intentionally or inadvertently emerge due to how policy was written,” the document states.
The VA requested an 8.2% increase in its budget for 2022 compared to 2021, according to Federal News Network. That includes a potential 4.1% increase in spending on its homelessness programs.
Author Robin DiAngelo during an interview on June 17, 2020.
(NBC/NBCU screenshot photo Bank via Getty Images)
The Veterans Health Administration’s contract opportunity comes amid a backlash against racial justice consultants such as “White Fragility” author Robin DiAngelo, who charge top dollar for their services. Public records obtained by Fox News show that Purdue University paid DiAngelo $7,000 for one lecture sponsored by Purdue’s Honors College Visiting Scholars program.
Former HUD Secretary Ben Carson blasted supporters of equity, as opposed to equality, in an op-ed last month.
“Proponents of equity see no problem with treating groups of people differently based solely on race, as long as it serves their agenda,” Carson wrote in The Washington Post. “This is what we used to call racism, and those not blinded by identity politics still recognize it as such.”
Fox News’ Houston Keene contributed to this report.
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