Home First is one of the largest agencies in the Bay Area with a mission to help the unsheltered. But on Wednesday, the head of the Silicon Valley NAACP stood with a group of former Home First employees from its Sunnyvale shelter saying they believe racism played a part in losing their jobs.
The group of former workers from the Home First Sunnyvale homeless shelter flanked by the Silicon Valley NAACP held up signs of racism accusations right outside the agency office on Valley Way Drive in Milpitas.
The workers, who all identify as Black, say they worked at the shelter for three to five years. But were all dismissed abruptly and, they claim, for minor offenses such as yelling at a client, and terminated without a hearing or a chance to plead their case.
Many acknowledged it was more a pattern of treatment and a feeling rather than overt racist behavior.
One worker said she was fired for yelling at a client, another said he didn’t know why.
“I was fired, I don’t have any write up,” said Leroy Thomas. “And they told me I was fired because of misconduct. It didn’t identify misconduct.”
Home First responded to NBC Bay Area’s request for comment with a statement emphasizing the importance it places on diversity and that staff departures are conducted with thorough and impartial reviews with decisions based solely on objective criteria.
“I believed there’s a pattern of racism, a pattern of practice, of employees disadvantaged .. And being laid off or let go for unknown reasons,” said Reverend Jethroe Moore, Silicon Valley NAACP president. “And with clear backgrounds with no disciplinary history.”
The NAACP says it will ask the state as well as local city and county agencies to look into the situation.
Source: NBC Bay Area