Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Building a Community Not a Shelter

Intervention Description
Owen Camuso
Overall Description: 
When looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, history has shown that homeless shelters were only focused on providing the basic physiological needs. Homeless individuals develop many behavioral health challenges throughout their journey that may have led them into homelessness, as well as a variety of traumas. To solve homelessness you must provide individuals with more than just the basics needs to overcome their traumatic pasts. Today shelters such as Jane Adams Place have made improvements to become trauma informed facilities. This product will focus on integrating three core elements that operate homeless shelters: staff, residents, and physical environment/policies. Previously in shelters these areas have operated under a silo mentality. This product will focus on these areas working collaboratively to strengthen the shelter community to become more trauma informed. Community Orientation A Jane Adams Place Trauma Informed video will be created for all residents and new staff members to view. This video will include the mission of Jane Adams Place, basic education around trauma, and the physical environment of the shelter i.e. key staff member’s offices, key emergency assistances, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom layouts. Clinical Groups One a weekly basis groups in Women Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model (WTREM) will be held for both residents and staff to attend. These groups will be held by outside facilitators trained in WTREM. One Facilitator will be an alumnus of Jane Adams Place. Trainings A training curriculum will be developed at the beginning of the project to create a community learning atmosphere. These trainings will be focused around trauma, and will be developed by staff, current residents, and former residents. Physical Environment The physical environment will be evaluated and rearranged by residents and staff to model a welcoming, safe, and open environment for the entire community.
People who have experienced trauma feel as though they have lost control. By eliminating the power dynamic between shelter staff and residents, it will assist in the trauma recovery. The community at Jane Adams Place is creating a relevant voice for everyone. By sending the same message to everyone, you will be able to develop a message of the mission of trauma informed care at Jane Adams Place. The learning environment will support awareness and trust when addressing past traumatic experiences. The weekly clinical group will provide a safe place for individuals to talk with their peers about these experiences. The Physical Environment will be a welcoming place, which will focus on the community’s need to feel safe in the shelter environment while being able to cope with past traumas.
The product is informed by clinical evidence based or evidence informed practices; however this product is unique because of the integration of emergency shelter residential homeless services with clinical homeless services. Developing a safe and open community and not an “us versus them” mentality in homeless services is not only very challenging, but also very important due to the lack of trust from someone who has had a traumatic life. Traditionally all behavioral health services are outsourced to treatment providers; this product will focus on providing behavioral health services onsite to meet individuals in a comfortable environment.
This product will impact both staff and residents at Jane Adams Place. By creating an environment of trust, individuals will feel more at ease speaking about the effects of trauma. This could be employee to supervisor, peer to peer, resident to resident, or resident to staff. The community atmosphere will foster learning and coping together. Residents will be more likely to come inside and stay inside if they are part of a community. Staff will become more engaged employees coming to work in an environment that focuses on supporting the entire community and not just the residents.
The product is based around group input. A team would be designed with stakeholders including staff, residents, and former residents. The team would develop the training curriculum for the community as well as identify qualified individuals to conduct the trainings. The community would work together to consider changing the physical environment to consider changes needed so that residents could have a “home like” feel. Lastly, a clinical group facilitator would be identified and a former resident would be trained in WTREM. After the core group was determined, a strategic plan could be developed within a month. It could take up to 3 months to have all outside parties in place.
Estimated Cost of Production: 
6 500.00
Do the production costs decrease as the number of units produced increases?: 
Space and Staffing Required: 
All staff would need to buy into the product. The primary focus would be on the management staff providing supervision to ensure the community focused on a trauma informed community. All staff and residents would watch the Jane Adams Place Orientation Video. Physical space would be needed to conduct five three hour trainings throughout the year and weekly WTREM groups.
Does your product require training of shelter staff to use appropriately?: 
Training Details: 
To create a collaborative learning environment, trainings would be offered to both staff and residents. Throughout the year fifteen hours of trauma training would be encouraged. Specific training in WTREM would be needed for an alumnus of Jane Adams Place.
This product and the budget were developed on one year of operation. During this pilot year there will be metrics developed to measure both quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative data will be measured by how many individuals complete the program and move on from Jane Adams Place. The Qualitative data will focus on self-esteem and safety while residing at Jane Adams Place. These outcomes will be used to attract funding from foundation grants so the product can continue.
Although Jane Adams Place has already begun their transformation to be Trauma Informed by adopting the Sanctuary Model, this product can be implemented in other shelter environments. Many shelters might not be through the initial transformation phase of becoming trauma informed but this product could be implemented during the transformation. The product might need to be modified due to gender, but the framework would be similar.
Evaluation will begin at the implementation stage. All individuals who have completed the initial orientation will be tracked; attendance to the WTREM groups will be compared to the census. Linkage to more intensive behavioral health services will be monitored. The last quantitative measure will examine the number of individuals transitioning to permanent housing and the number of people who join the Jane Adams Alumni community. Qualitative data will be tracked by amending the initial assessment upon intake. Assessments will be given on safety and self-esteem when entering the shelter community both as an employee and a resident. Progress notes will be captured by the group facilitators to show the effectiveness of WTREM. Prior to a successful transition from Jane Adams Place, exit interviews will be conducted with staff and residents on the community at Jane Adams. Post safety and self-esteem assessments will be given and evaluated compared to the initial assessment.

Supporting Materials