People experiencing homelessness come from a wide range of backgrounds. It is important for providers to recognize that each person’s diverse experiences, values, and beliefs will impact how he or she accesses homeless services. It is equally important to recognize that the cultural values of providers and service delivery systems have an effect on how services are delivered and accessed.
Cultural competency means being sensitive and aware of the ways in which cultural values shape the delivery of services and how they are accessed. It also means ensuring that all consumers have equal access to services, regardless of ethnic, cultural, or linguistic backgrounds. For example, consumers may be refugees fleeing violence in their home countries, with complex trauma histories and little English language ability. The resources on this page will help providers be more aware of the need for cultural competence in homeless service delivery.