We are very pleased to have once again submitted Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) monitoring data to the National Housing Federation.
The aim of their EDI data tool is to assess how well organisations reflect the communities they serve, primarily in terms of the characteristics of their staff and board members – for example age, race, gender, sexuality and gender identity. It is a way to measure progress and, when analysis and general findings are released in the Autumn, a way to compare what we are doing with others in our sector.
By using the tool, we join hundreds of other charities and housing organisations who aspire to be as representative of the people they support as possible.
Not only is this aspiration rooted in principles of equality, accessibility and fairness, but it also has tangible consequences for the delivery of homelessness services.
Anyone can be impacted by homelessness. Those we support have many different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, languages, and personal experiences. If our colleagues truly reflect our local communities, it gives us a deeper understanding of the cultural nuances, values, and norms that shape the experiences of our customers. This cultural competence enables charities like ours to provide more culturally sensitive and appropriate support, fostering trust and better outcomes.
Furthermore, when customers see staff and volunteers who share their lived experiences or cultural backgrounds, it helps establish a sense of trust and relatability. Having shared experiences can reduce barriers to seeking assistance, encourage engagement, and increase the likelihood of individuals reaching out for support. Organisations that reflect the communities they serve can therefore build stronger relationships and a sense of belonging.
Diversity and Inclusion within homelessness charities is also empowering for our customers. It sends a powerful message that their voices and perspectives are valued and respected. When people from marginalised or underrepresented communities are involved in decision-making processes, it ensures that their views and concerns are taken into account. This representation can help challenge stereotypes and promote equity within the charity and the wider community.
What’s more, diverse perspectives and experiences contribute to innovation and creativity. When individuals with different backgrounds collaborate, they bring unique insights, problem-solving approaches, and fresh ideas. This leads to more comprehensive and effective strategies for addressing homelessness, as it takes into account the multifaceted challenges faced by different communities.
All of these benefits translate into the more effective delivery of support, and an increased likelihood that people will move on from homelessness into independence. There is certainly work to do in terms of how representative of their local communities homelessness organisations are, but there is much to celebrate and feel positive about as we continue to improve as a sector.
You can read more about the NHF’s EDI data tool here.