Responding to Specific Access Barriers

Trauma Informed Organizational Toolkit for Homeless Services

Kathleen Guarino, et al.
National Center on Family Homelessness

Given the high rates of traumatic exposure among families who are homeless, it has become clear that understanding trauma and its impact is essential to providing quality care in shelters and housing programs. This realization has lead to the suggestion that programs serving trauma survivors adapt their services to account for their clients’ traumatic experiences, that is, they become “trauma-informed”. In order to respond empathically to the needs of trauma survivors, ensure their physical and emotional safety, develop realistic treatment goals, and at the very least avoid re-traumatization, all practices and programming must be provided through the lens of trauma. This Toolkit offers homeless service providers with concrete guidelines for how to modify their practices and policies to ensure that they are responding appropriately to the needs of families who have experienced traumatic stress.

Strong Foundation for Healing: Shelter & Sexual Violence

Kris Bein
Christi Hurt

Sexual assault is a most intimate crime, and when it happens in our most intimate sanctuaries— our homes—the trauma is devastating and difficult to escape. Given that most sexual assaults take place in or near victims’ homes or the homes of victims’ friends, relatives, or neighbors, for many survivors of sexual violence, home often is not safe. The author asserts that until recently, the anti-rape field has not considered shelter and housing to be sexual violence issues. But now, equipped with research and inspired by some promising practices, the field is identifying housing as a core issue in sexual assault advocacy work. This paper considers issues and advocacy related to emergency shelter and longer-term housing for sexual violence survivors.

Self Assessment Tool for Ensuring Access for People with Disabilities

Disability Rights Wisconsin

This tool is to be used by sexual assault and domestic violence programs to review their programs and services to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access and an equal opportunity to participate. Accessibility includes removing not only physical barriers to participation, but also cultural and attitudinal barriers. Many of the suggestions about policies and communication are best practices, and some are required by law. This tool is designed to be used with an accompanying Accessibility Guide. Links to both the Guide and the Tool can be found below.

Real Tools: Responding to Multi-Abuse Trauma - Chapter 10: How Should Advocates Respond?

Debi Edmund
Patricia Bland
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

This toolkit was designed in hopes that it will be widely used for training advocates and other service providers, creating support groups for individuals coping with multi-abuse trauma issues, and educating and advocating in the community. The excerpted chapter describes how advocates and programs can support survivors seeking safety, sobriety, wellness, autonomy and justice by reducing service barriers and ending isolation for people impacted by multiple abuse issues. Policies and procedures to ensure culturally competent, appropriate, non-punitive and non-judgmental accessible services are key.

Open Minds Open Doors: Transforming Domestic Violence Programs to Include LGBTQ Survivors

The Network/La Red

Despite the prevalence of LGBTQ partner abuse, there are only a handful of programs in the country specifically serving LGBTQ survivors. The need for more inclusive services for LGBTQ survivors is great in all areas, but shelter and housing are especially wanting. Many LGBTQ victims become homeless due to the abuse, and there are significant gaps in the critical continuum of services, including adequate shelter and transitional living programs for LGBTQ survivors. This guide is intended to assist programs to increase their capacity to serve LGBTQ survivors.

LGBT Homelessness

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This section of the HUD Exchange establishes a central clearinghouse of resources for the LGBT community, including information on and links to HUD's Equal Access Rule and program guidance, a toolkit on supporting transgender-inclusive projects, information on HUD's initiative for the community-wide prevention of LGBT youth homelessness, and links to LGBTQ resources and research reports.

Equal Access Self-Assessment for Shelters and Projects

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This self-assessment is a spreadsheet that projects can use to figure out their top priorities for improving policies and procedures as regards implementation of the Equal Access Rule on transgender status and gender expression. Projects can assess their own inclusivity through answering a series of questions. The tool generates the top three action steps based on those responses. Users can re-assess their performance periodically to continue operational improvement.

Equal Access for Transgender People: Supporting Inclusive Housing and Shelters

David Canavan
Fran Ledger
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Individuals and families seeking services from HUD funded homeless projects have nowhere else to go. Too many LGBT youth and adults meet this standard and have nowhere to turn other than a HUD funded project. Acknowledging their need for assistance and seeking help is often its own struggle for those who have sacrificed much simply to recognize themselves. Transgender individuals in particular are impacted by violence and discrimination in ways that both contribute to their homelessness and keep them from accessing necessary shelter and services. HUD funds welcoming and inclusive housing programs open to all eligible individuals; the Equal Access Rule and follow-up guidance ensure that local projects know how to implement and enforce this requirement. These training materials provide CoCs and projects with the framework to create welcoming and inclusive projects for transgender and gender non-conforming people.

Creating Trauma-Informed Services: Tipsheet Series: Tips for Creating a Welcoming Environment

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

The environment we create communicates our beliefs about the people we serve. This environment and the way we offer services are critical aspects of our work to increase access to our programs for women who are experiencing psychiatric disabilities or the effects of trauma. This tipsheet provides guidance as to how to better ensure a welcoming environment for all survivors.