“The Trauma of Homelessness” Seminar
In what way does experiencing homelessness increase the likelihood of trauma? How can service providers develop programs that are trauma informed and can mitigate the long term effects of experiencing homelessness? This topic was the focus of the first Care For the Homeless Policy Seminar, “The Trauma of Homelessness”, held on Tuesday, October 1st at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan.
We began the Seminar with our MC, Delise Du Pont Blenman, Chair of the Board of Directors at CFH. She introduced Barbara Andrews from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families who gave the opening remarks. Ms. Andrews discussed important points about the impact of homelessness on families with children, the largest demographic residing in the DHS shelter system.
George Nashak, CFH Executive Director, was the moderator for the panel. The panelists were Michael Austin (CFH Client Advocate), Scott Auwarter (BronxWorks Assistant Executive Director), Dr. Andrea Littleton (BronxWorks Medical Director and CFH Physician), Dr. Regina Olasin (CFH Chief Medical Officer), and Frances Pierre (Suffolk County Department of Social Services Commissioner). All brought insightful perspectives to the conversation and lent their expertise on issues such as family homelessness, street homelessness, substance use disorders, adverse childhood experiences and the lived experience of homelessness.
NYC Council Member and General Welfare Committee Chair, Stephen Levin, delivered inspiring closing remarks about current legislation meant to address homelessness in NYC.
Policy is an essential component of the work that CFH does. We believe that bad policies created homelessness and therefore, better policies could end it. We conduct several public education events throughout the year and this Seminar is an integral part of that effort. Convening elected officials, advocates, services providers, academics and people with the lived experience of homelessness gives us a platform to discuss opportunities to not only respond to the immediate crisis of homelessness but contribute to long term solutions. The goal is to develop policies and procedures that will guide the delivery of well-rounded services which is an important component in the path to ending homelessness. Please keep an eye out for our next Seminar in the Spring of 2020.
A big thanks to all our speakers and the organizations who provide essential services for our neighbors most in need. Thank you to everyone that attended the Seminar. The discussion touched on several important issues and ones that we hope to continue developing to ensure that no one in NYC has to endure the trauma of experiencing homelessness.