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Trauma CARE PREMISES FOR SURVIVING for People Living in Public Spaces and Best Practices

April 22, 2017

Trauma Care Premises for Surviving for People Who Are Living in Public Spaces and BEST PRACTICES


“Nothing about us without US,”  always have this principle first and foremost when Considering public policy and especially rules and regulations that Affect people who are living in public spaces.

One asks directly,  What do you think or feel about   ……….?”  Incentives are essential  – the person must be considered a subject expert and accordingly, treated as a person of esteem perhaps nothing is worse than patronizing a person who lives marginally.

“HOW do you know what it feels like to be immersed in extreme poverty, lacking connections, feeling invisible, trauma which everyone experiences who suffers the indignity of being without a place to rest, go to the bathroom, dress appropriately, be prepared for work, feeling clean, eating decently, having medical care that is universal integrated long-term?”  These are a few of the nuances of being impoverished but there is an element that is in the heart, inside, in one’s spirit of making it, of simply surviving, that over rides everything else in one’s life.  Anyone knowing someone in these straits has to begin with listening astutely without judging the sagacity truth or reasoning of the person who shares their story and it must be done reciprocally whereby you are willing to give up your personal success and knowing what is best, but that we are the same regardless of our circumstances.  THE HIGHEST form of adulation of a person who lives on edge is that they regard you as being safe and non-threatening.  Any outreach services have to be offered from the origin of respect, dignity, and high regard for whatever the person shares.

Homeless persons or people living in extreme poverty have to be at the table as equals on all policy, funding, assessment and decision making protocols.  Their point of view must be regarded as expert testimony. I cannot emphasize this premise too much.  I feel people who take the time and feel secure that they are valued should be compensated financially for their input.  Their presence must be sought after as one would any counsel by a professional.

Those programs that provide this effort have trauma informed care at the forefront of whatever their protocol is and how their resources are utilized.  WHEN I cross the threshold of a trauma informed care center or site the values and interests of the patient, client, person before you have to be considered foremost in design and development of the place.  THE HOMELESS OUTREACH PROGRAM or HOP has two fully equipped exam rooms with caring informed staff because for many people living on the “edge,” this is as much as they will tolerate of systems, offices and treatment facilities.  THE BEST work I ever accomplished was right on a ledge of a soup kitchen simply listening  being present to the person wherever she or he is and however she or he is.  Their interest may surprise you but be yourself always listening with respect and integrity for the person’s confidentiality and trust, I NEVER assume I know what is right or wrong for that person, even if it is obvious, that is insignificant. TRUST is what matters most of all.

How do you know what is wrong with a patient who comes to you as a medical professional unless you ask him or her?  The best programs begin with TRAUMA INFORMED CARE and MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING  in other words, they offer choices not a quick fix or right answer.  IF HOMELESS PEOPLE WERE NOT DOING THE WORK just as much as clinicians no one would intervene successfully in reestablishing connections a network and having the person begin to believe that he or she is fully capable.  

In Ft. LYON in Lamar west of Pueblo the people run their groups, lead their treatment, regulate themselves as a community. Community building even when the person has been housed is essential for adapting and maintaining a high standard of quality of life. People in Ft. Lyon have severe issues but when they are finished as return to wherever they live two years later, they have to have the skills to teach and guide others.  The program at North Colorado Station does not begin with the premise that I do not need to work on these issues always, they begin with a premise that we all live with a network and should expect to find supportive inspirational motivational environments in which to dwell as we change grow older and die.  

Family centered models that impact individuals like the Gathering Place begin with a host of resources network opportunities to earn a living to be a fully equipped person to lead one’s life and care for one’s children.  OFTEN the mothers and their children experience severe early childhood trauma,  which simply helps us to realize that they still wake up, rise move on with their lives.

They have to learn to trust, to understand that it is not their fault, what occurred, that they can care for one another, heal and trust other adults. That it is necessary to share their experiences and feel at ease that they’re lives are invaluable, they are sacred gifts.

All couples have to be honored.  GLBTQ children, relationships have to have a place where they’re welcomed and accepted as who and how they are.  Programs like the Catholic Worker Community have made it a requirement that people live together in community  eat as a family, have their own space to dwell, work on changing and development of their aims as a family, couple or individual.  Everyone in Catholic Worker Houses must get up everyday and go out and accomplish what their objectives are.  There is no waiting list to be a part of the community. Everyone does chores and prepares meals and whatever is possible joins together to eat and share their lives.  The difference with the Catholic Worker model is that all relationships as families are honored.

The Bridgehouse in Boulder is a model of work force housing  that is exemplary.  The reasons for their success is the same as any program that motivates a person to work and live in a place of their own.  Many similar models exist in Street to Home paradigms.  In every case we begin with the values and aspirations of the participants in the programs.

Assessment and data collection is pivotal to knowing what resources respond to the full person and are proven to succeed.  The Chapin survey of homeless youth by youth who were paid for their expertise is an excellent model for collecting data.  It is the most comprehensive and successful study of people who are younger than 25 on the street that has been done because they knew where to go and were trusted by their peers.  Jennifer Perlman at Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has offered to do a comprehensive study of homeless experiences of trauma that would provide concrete data for 25,000 people who are living in extreme poverty.  SUCH means testing services are indispensable in understanding the underlying  fears and losses of being “homeless.”  We desperately need FUNDING to accomplish these outcomes.We have no data on trauma.  $150,000.00  would be required to make this research possible.  At the conclusion we would know precisely how rampant and pronounced the issue of extreme poverty is in this community.  This study would be a bell weather for providing more sustenance on trauma informed care.




I need you to talk about your perspective of good community development and

 react to systems and rules that are written by people who have not been part of the system?


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