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. Because of this, it is vital that cultural competency is centered in our work where we actively maintain cultural humility and offer culturally responsive service provision.
- Cultural Competence is the knowledge and understanding of the diverse and complex needs of people from various cultural groups. Cultural competency is a continuum of practice that involves acknowledging cultural differences, identify gaps in treatment, and then tailoring your behavior and the services you provide to meet the needs of all groups by hearing from the groups and involving them in changes and decision-making.
- Cultural humility challenges us to learn from those we work with and serve, reserve judgement, and actively bridge cultural divides.
- Cultural responsiveness is when services are framed by understanding of culture, cultural competency, and cultural humility creating a cultural responsive foundation for families and communities to be engaged and supported utilizing the strengths of their diversity and cultural dynamics. Culturally responsive programs and services evolve appropriately to engage families and communities in the design, delivery, and evaluation of effective and appropriate services. Think of cultural responsiveness as a tool to ensure the inclusion of various points of views and experiences. It often requires that those in a position of power take stock of their role in society and the advantages that may come with it and encourages the learning and understanding of other groups to foster respect, trust, and inclusion of that understanding in every step of decision-making.
Diversity Among Connecticut Youth Experiencing Homelessness and Housing Instability
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.
Racial Inequities in Housing and Homelessness webinar series
Meeting the Needs of Your Clients: Building Competencies in Mental Health and Addiction Services webinar series
- 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.
- Developing Culturally Responsive Approaches to Serving Diverse Populations: A Resource Guide for Community-Based Organizations
This resource guide, Supporting the Development of Culturally Responsive Approaches to Serving Diverse Populations, is designed to help Community-Based Organizations serve the needs of their diverse populations.
- Report on Cultural Competency Training for Health Care Professionals in Connecticut
This report provides resources and details to assist organizations with assessing themselves in Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards with supporting information to assist with organizational strategic planning towards the implementation of the CLAS Standards.
- Tool for Organizational Self-Assessment Related to Racial Equity
This tool was created by All Hands Raised and the Coalition of Communities of Color and is designed to help you, as an organizational leader, gather a holistic snapshot of your organizations’ practices and policies as they relate to racial equity.
- Implicit Bias Test
This test was developed by scientists from Harvard University, University of Virginia, and University of Washington and measures the strength of associations between concepts (e.g., black people, gay people) and evaluations (e.g., good, bad) or stereotypes (e.g., athletic, clumsy).