SAMHSA promotes trauma-informed care for people experiencing homelessness who have been exposed to physical and sexual abuse.
Homelessness can be traumatic. It is a costly public health concern that usually involves the loss of home, community, stability, safety, and social networks. People experiencing homelessness, including those with mental and/or substance use disorders, often have been the victims of assault and have experienced other forms of violence, sometimes leading to trauma. Given the likelihood of trauma among people experiencing homelessness, understanding trauma and its impact is crucial to providing quality care. Trauma-informed care is an evidence-based practice that teaches service providers and their organizations about the triggers and vulnerabilities of trauma survivors, and effective interventions. It involves understanding, anticipating, and responding to people’s expectations and needs, and minimizing the chances of re-traumatizing someone who is trying to heal.
Domestic violence can lead to an increased incidence of homelessness for women and children. Among mothers with children experiencing homelessness, more than 80% had experienced domestic violence. These women are often isolated from support networks and financial resources by their abusers, which puts them at risk of becoming homeless. Thus, they may lack steady income, employment history, credit history, and landlord references. They also often suffer from anxiety, panic disorder, major depression, and substance abuse.
For more information or to get help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.