Cultural Competency


In housing and homeless services, we serve an incredibly diverse range of people from different religious backgrounds, races and ethnicity, and across the spectrum of age and experience as well as gender and sexual preference. Cultural Competence is the knowledge and understanding of the diverse and complex needs of people from various cultural groups. Maintaining cultural humility challenges us to learn from those we work with and serve, reserve judgement, and actively bridge cultural divides.


Diversity among Connecticut Youth experiencing Homelessness and Housing Instability

Overall, the demographics of homelessness are generally similar to the overall population. Connecticut has significant diversity in race,ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, and background in its general and homeless population and providers should be prepared to serve this diverse range of clients.

In the 2015 CT Youth Count over 3,000 youth were identified as homeless and unstably housed in Connecticut. Of those, more than 40% indicated they had no permanent place to live for over a year. Youth, which compose roughly 15-20% of clients served in Connecticut, are highly diverse; 38.6 % identified their race as “black” and 36% identified ethnicity as Hispanic. In addition to being racially or ethnically diverse, these 25% of “literally homeless” youth self-designated as part of the LGBTQ community. With so much variety in background and culture, openness and a non-judgmental frame of mind is key to effectively serving this population.

 Additional Resources

Cultural Competency Training PowerPoint

This training on Cultural Competence is from the Department of Child and Family Services. 

Cultural Competency “Who Am I Poem” Activity

Activity from DCF Cultural Competency training on personal identify and understanding our own cultural background. 

Related Videos:

Cracking the Codes: Joy DeGruy “A Trip to the Grocery Store”

Imagine a World Where Being “Gay” is The Norm: Short Film

Color of Justice

Race Baiting 101: Matthew Cooke