Dear Family, Friends, Partners, and Supporters of PATH and PATH Ventures,
For nearly 37 years, those of us at PATH and PATH Ventures have been working hard to help our unhoused neighbors move off the streets and walk into their own homes. We grew from serving a few communities on the westside of Los Angeles to more than 140 cities across the state.
A few years ago, we acknowledged that our role in California was more than just providing services and housing for people struggling with homelessness. Partly out of not wanting to weigh into this country’s polarizing political environment, we tried to stay out of the debate of why a broken society would allow its people to live on the streets.
But then heartbreaking data came out that showed a disproportionate number of people of color were homeless, and decades of systemic laws—not just a dearth of affordable housing—caused this.
Across the state, 6.5% of Californians identify as black or African American,
but they account for nearly 40% of the state’s homeless population.
We realized that our silence was wrong.
But to change a system, we had to change ourselves. So, we created an independent group of PATH staff members, from line staff to leadership, that reflected the races and ethnicities, genders, orientations, and life experiences of the real world around us. This group is helping to create a new PATH, committed to including everyone in decision-making and leadership and representing our diverse society. Together we are promoting equity within our own organization to transform the antiquated system that has withheld so much for so many for far too long.
We also brought on staff that would solely help PATH advocate on a public-sector level for policies that would change a backward and unjust system that allows people, especially people of color, to be homeless.
The tragic events occurring in our country today, and the ensuing outcry affirm PATH’s new direction. We are more than just a charity that helps people. We are a social change organization advancing a movement for a better future.
So, to the 24,000 people we serve each year, our 20,000 supporters, 60 board members, and more than 700 staff members across California: Today we stand with our neighbors marching on our streets nonviolently demanding change. We stand for our neighbors who are living on the streets, whose lives depend on us.
And we stand for those yearning for an equitable society. A society that gives everyone a right to have personal safety and dignity, a right to education, health, and employment. And a right to a home.
We will no longer be silent.
Joel John Roberts
Chief Executive Officer
Jennifer Hark Dietz, LCSW
Deputy CEO and Executive Director