A Statement From Metro Housing|Boston on Racism

Twelve weeks ago, Metro Housing|Boston began responding to the realities of the spread of COVID-19. Our collective world shifted and yet again systemic racism manifested by unequal access to healthcare, just wages and quality housing was exposed. On May 25, George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police shifted the world yet again.

Every day, Metro Housing works with and assists people who have extremely low incomes, many of whom have been marginalized. Every day, we serve households who have known the trauma of poverty and homelessness firsthand. Many, including our own staff, have experienced the trauma of discrimination because of the color of their skin. Since its very beginning, Metro Housing has strongly believed that all sectors must work together to effectively address the issues that prevent access to affordable housing. We are proud of the work done by our Civil Rights and Fair Housing team.

In the greater Boston area that we serve, disparities persist between neighborhoods where White households live and neighborhoods where Black, Hispanic, and Asian households live. These barriers exist for reasons beyond income disparity and have not been effectively addressed.  Black-White segregation in the metro Boston area remains high compared to other large metro areas, and almost 75% of children who are poor in Massachusetts are Black or Hispanic.

This week, organizations and corporations across the country have issued statements that condemn the systemic racism that permeates this country. They are “talking the talk” because it’s the right thing to do, a sign to their customers, employees, and partners that they care. Our hope is that these statements are accompanied by true change and are not just aspirational goals.  All of us should be judged by our actions and not just our words.

We all must use our voices to call for changes that will increase opportunity for everyone, including the reform of our criminal justice system, increasing public school funding and job training, and investments in more affordable housing for families with the lowest incomes.

Racism in our country will continue to be a problem until we acknowledge the impact that our society’s past has had on its present.  For housing this includes rental discrimination, lending patterns, zoning, and discriminatory deed restrictions among other things.  We must actively confront it in our towns, neighborhoods, and in ourselves.

Metro Housing has made a commitment to address structural racism internally and externally, and we have made progress. But, we are not perfect. Like our greater society, we have work to do. We will continue to hold ourselves accountable by having the necessary difficult conversations with our stakeholders to develop real, measurable action steps to address systemic racism. We will use our position as a leader in the affordable housing arena to prompt federal, state, and local decision-makers who are in a position to do so to eliminate the barriers to economic and social mobility faced by our minority populations.

In solidarity,

Chris Norris

Executive Director

Metro Housing|Boston


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