Composed by Home Forward’s Equity Team over the course of 2020 and adopted in 2021 to provide a framework to the agency’s equity agenda.
Home Forward was originally founded in 1941 as the Housing Authority of Portland. It was designed, as all American institutions were, to privilege whiteness and disadvantage Black and brown people, despite its stated mission of providing housing assistance to the community in general. Every Home Forward property was built and remains on sovereign Indigenous lands. Home Forward’s past injustices continue to cause harm, and current practices uphold white supremacy. The breadth and depth of this can’t be fully captured here, but Home Forward must begin to account for some of the impacts:
As the owner and manager of Vanport, Home Forward actively participated in racist practices that segregated Black and Asian evacuees in certain neighborhoods, following the devastating flood.
Home Forward policies and practices have deliberately harmed Black and brown people, historically and at present. For example, to perpetuate the damage done by a racist criminal justice system, Home Forward denies housing assistance and terminates participation based on criminal history.
Home Forward has failed to hire and promote people of color, leading to an overrepresentation of white people in positions of power and leadership.
Stephens Creek Crossing
Home Forward’s mission is to assure that the people of the community are sheltered. Its failure to be an anti-racist organization has directly undermined that mission. Home Forward continues to participate in the systemic race-based denial of safe and healthy housing, a basic human right. These realities are unacceptable. Home Forward must do more.
Home Forward must reckon with both past and present in order to create a just future. Home Forward must understand the discrimination and disparate treatment that exist based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, disability status, geography, age, and other identities. While acknowledging that these many intersecting identities affect how people are impacted by systemic racism, Home Forward must lead with racial equity. Race is the foundation of Home Forward’s equity work because it is key to eliminating the racial inequities built into this country’s history of racism and white supremacy. Active rejection of anti-Blackness is not possible without prioritizing the Black experience, as those most impacted by systemic racism. This is intentional, and this is vital.