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COMMUNITY: Shalom Center shelter is designed for trauma
SHALOM CENTER

COMMUNITY: Shalom Center shelter is designed for trauma

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Homelessness is a traumatic experience. Individuals and families experiencing homelessness are under constant stress, unsure whether they will sleep in a safe environment or obtain a decent meal.

They often lack a stable home, financial resources, life skills, and social support to change their circumstances.

In addition to the experience of being homeless, an overwhelming percentage of homeless individuals, families, and children have been exposed to additional forms of trauma. These include neglect, psychological and physical abuse, and sexual abuse during childhood; community violence; combat-related trauma; domestic violence; accidents; and disasters.

Trauma is widespread and affects people of every gender, age, race, sexual orientation, and background within homeless service settings.

Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is an overarching structure and treatment attitude that emphasizes understanding, compassion, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. Trauma-Informed Care also looks at physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both clients and providers, and provides tools to empower homeless individuals and families on the pathway to stability. The Shalom Center is a trauma-informed agency, which means recognizing that people have many different traumatic experiences, which often intersect in their lives. Well-meaning services providers can often re-traumatize clients who need understanding, support, and individually focused care.

Through our two Shelter programs, we have adopted a Trauma-Informed Care design that consists of the following:

Realizing how the physical environment affects an individual’s sense of identity, worth, dignity, and empowerment

Recognizing that the physical environment has an impact on attitude, mood, and behavior and that there is a strong link between our physiological state, our emotional state, and the physical environment

Responding by designing and maintaining supportive and healing environments for our trauma-experienced residents or clients to resist re-traumatization.

To end homelessness, we must continually assess our systems to ensure that we remain committed to trauma-informed approaches that prioritize individuals’ and families’ choices in how they engage in housing and services, the kinds of programs they participate in, and the services accessed. We must make sure that our leaders and staff have access to the comprehensive training and support they need to design and deploy systems and programs aligned with these principles.

So, how can you help? Contributing to our mission will help us continue to serve the community. You can donate by visiting www.shalomcenter.org/give. Another way to help is by visiting our COVID-19 needs list: www.shalomcenter.org/covid19needs, which will share information about what type of material needs we have at this time.

Shalom Center is proud to serve this beautiful community. We stand proud of the fact that you continue to support our mission and trust us to build HOPE in this community. We look forward to continuing to serve the community- pandemic or not! Please be safe, love one another, and stay healthy! Always remember that TOGETHER, we are stronger.

Tamarra A. Coleman is executive director of the Shalom Center in Kenosha.

Tamarra A. Coleman is executive director of the Shalom Center in Kenosha.

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