Nearly all homeless mothers in Syracuse likely have one thing in common: They’ve experienced trauma as a child or adult. That’s the conclusion of a study by the National Center on Family Homelessness at the American Institute of Research. It was funded by the Wilson Foundation based in Rochester.
Wilson Foundation Executive Director Megan Bell explains what she calls the surprising finding that traumatic experiences among mothers are more strongly linked to homelessness than common predictors.
The study found more than 90% of homeless mothers experienced trauma at much higher rates than the general public.
That means locally, as many as 450 women in the Salvation Army's Emergency Family Shelter last year likely brought a history of trauma.
Director of the National Center on Family Homelessness Carmela DeCandia says trauma needs to be addressed as part of the continuum of housing and services provided to families.
The Salvation Army of Syracuse is actually training staff to better understand the traumatic backgrounds some of their clients are likely to bring to their family shelter. Director of Emergency and Child Welfare services Liddy Hintz says they’re also working with a mental health services program at St. Joseph’s hospital.
Former Congressman James Walsh and former Common Councilor Teresa McCarthy-Brusa began doing work to help the homeless about 27 years ago. Wednesday afternoon, they both were recognized for their efforts in front of City Hall as part of Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.
Construction began today on a brand new home for Scott Brennen, a disabled veteran of the United States Army who will live in the third Veteran's Home built by Syracuse Habitat for Humanity. The process of raising the walls began Thursday, with an ultimate goal of completing the home in time for Christmas.
Brennen returned from service to a paycheck that was too small to support his family. He explained the process that led him to seek aid from Habitat for Humanity: