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Posts Tagged ‘Awareness’

How Trauma Informed Care is helping homeless families

Written by admin on . Posted in Awareness, Domestic Violence, Education, Families, Mental Health, Policy Advocacy, Poverty, Women, Youth

The National Coalition for the Homeless recently hosted a Congressional briefing on Trauma Informed Care (TIC) and homeless families. Trauma Informed Care is an important topic that is rapidly gaining notability due to its capacity to teach practitioners how to engage with individuals who have experienced trauma without the use of damaging punitive or paternalistic attitudes.

Representative Alcee L. Hastings of the 20th District of Florida, co-chair of the Congressional Homelessness Caucus, began the briefing with opening remarks. He was then followed by a panel of TIC experts, including Cheryl Sharp, the senior advisor for trauma informed services at the National Council for Behavioral Health, Jennifer Pearlman, the coordinator for trauma informed care for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Leah Harris, the TIC specialist for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, and Barbara Anderson, the director of Haven House Services. The panel was moderated by Carmela DeCandia, the director for child and family initiatives from the Center on Social Innovation. Each speaker brought a complimentary perspective from a different facet of homeless and mental health services, as they informed the audience on their knowledge and experience with trauma informed care.

Each panelist explained that trauma informed care serves as an organizational strategy to help social service agencies gain the awareness, knowledge, and skills to better support individuals on their pathway to recovery. This approach prompts service providers to respond to the recipient’s psychological and emotional needs rather than just provide resources. It necessitates that service providers approach recipients from a perspective of empathy that rejects ideologies of individual blame for issues created by much larger forces. This ideology is pertinent in light of the findings of the SHIFT study that showed, 93% of homeless mothers had a history of trauma, 79% experienced trauma as children, 81% experience multiple traumatic events, and 36% had a lifetime history of post-traumatic stress disorder. The SHIFT study also provides valuable insights on the impact of public policy on the creation of homelessness and poverty.

With the severe lack of affordable housing in this country, only one out of four low-income families that are eligible for federal rental assistance will receive it. Meanwhile, the minimum wage is not sufficient enough to cover the cost of housing in many cities. Without stable housing, traumatic vulnerability occurs, which can result in assault, mental and physical health issues, and substance abuse. More than half of homeless children are under the age of 6, which is a critical time for brain development and resilience. Cheryl Sharp warned that when children do not know if they are safe it impedes upon their development. Traumatized caregivers are more likely to pass adverse experiences onto children, and are less emotionally and physically available. This is compounded on the stressors of being homeless. Even sheltered families can experience trauma because of danger in these environments, instability, and a lack of mental health knowledge among caregivers. This trauma furthers the barrier to successful re-housing. We must demand systemic change to increase our nation’s affordable housing stock, and make TIC funding available in existing shelters and service organizations to allow homeless families pathways to stability and healing. Barbara Anderson stated that ending homelessness and the resulting trauma requires the completion of two main objectives: solving the root causes of homelessness through a paradigm shift to a democratic government that addresses the needs of the people, and healing the trauma of past policies with social service investment. Our political representatives, our shelters, our service providers, our schools, and our culture must implement trauma-informed strategies, because within our current mode of operation, we are only making surviving in America more difficult.

Interested in measuring the TIC in your organization? Check out the ticometer at www.Thinkt3.com.

– Kyra Habekoss and Quinn Kobelak 
   NCH Interns

Why Membership Matters to Andrè

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Advocacy, Awareness, Speakers' Bureau

Andrè is a member of NCH and participates in the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau. Over the past few years he has been able to share his story with many and today shares with us why he knows his Membership Matters:

Greetings, I’m Andrè. NCH continues to receive my support because of their approach tackling homelessness. They work to end homelessness not just through litigation and advocating about the issue but also in personal action. I’m referring to how they treat the people who are affected by homelessness on a daily basis. You see, when I was introduced to NCH by my good friend Steve Thomas, I was at what I can only explain as the lowest point in my life. Upon entering NCH’s offices in DC, I was greeted with friendly handshakes, genuine welcomes and sincere smiles. I had become conditioned to expect being ignored, ridiculed and dismissed by society.

Not only was I overwhelmed by kindness but curious and interested. I finally felt I had found a place where I had a voice. Since then I have had the honor of meeting with and speaking to some awesome people both as a guide for NCH’s Homeless Challenge and as a member of the Speaker’s Bureau. My perception of life, specifically my life in general, has been altered from hopeless to hopeful. I attribute my attitude of hopefulness to the donations of talents, time, service and tangible treasures ($) of those associated with NCH, such as you.

Searching my vocabulary the only words to express my gratitude for you is……

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!

Gratefully yours,
Andrè

Why Membership Matters to Hunter Scott:

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Awareness

Hunter Scott is a student at American University and was an intern at NCH this past spring. Since his time working in NCH’s office, he has remained involved with the Coalition and the battle to end homelessness. Read Hunter’s unique perspective on why Membership Matters to young people:

I’ve had a passion for working for the homeless since I was an intern at San Francisco’s Project Homeless Connect, where I often used publications and tools provided by NCH to do the work of the organization. Many young people place importance on volunteering with direct service providers, hoping to help the homeless in a face to face capacity. After taking this attitude myself, I decided to get a different experience by interning at NCH during my sophomore year in college. While there, I worked on NCH’s social networking presence, measuring its impact as an effective advocate for the homeless online. During my internship, I learned how working in advocacy organizations, especially national advocacy organizations like NCH, provides the tools needed to create the broad social change that I hoped for after volunteering in direct service capacities. After I finished my internship, I took a grant writing and non-profit management class. I decided to partner with NCH for my projects to support its advocacy work. Today, I continue to support NCH because they provide the needed national progressive voice on all matters relating to homelessness, and will lead the way in bringing the homeless in this country home.

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