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Trauma-Informed Housing
  • Trauma-Informed Housing
  • Why Is Trauma-Informed Housing Needed?
  • What Makes Housing Trauma Informed?
  • Development and Design Process
  • Property Management
  • Resident Services
  • What Organizations Are Adopting Trauma-Informed Housing Principles?
  • MASS Design Group
  • Shopworks
  • The Kelsey
  • WinnCompanies
  • Enterprise Community Development
  • How Can We Make Trauma-Informed Housing the Standard for Affordable Housing?
  • Acknowledgments, Errata, and Credits
  • Brief Trauma-Informed Housing
    An Approach to Empower Residents in Affordable Housing Design, Services, and Management

    Public and assisted housing provides affordable, stable housing to people with low incomes—including seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children. However, policies and practices around affordable housing design, management, and services have often disempowered and harmed residents. Trauma-informed housing is a promising approach that aims to redress these structural harms and improve the well-being of residents of affordable housing by centering their lived experiences and empowering them in decisions that affect their homes.

    Over the past three years, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a nonprofit affordable housing provider, has developed and rolled out a trauma-informed housing framework in several of their affordable housing communities across the country and has developed a toolkit to share the framework with other housing providers. The Urban Institute is partnering with POAH to assess their implementation of this approach. In May of 2023, Urban and POAH hosted a roundtable with affordable-housing stakeholders that highlighted the work of POAH and their partner organizations, who are leading the push for trauma-informed approaches in affordable housing policy and practice.

    Building on the roundtable, this project tells the story of the need for trauma-informed approaches to affordable housing in the US, explores POAH’s trauma-informed housing framework and the ongoing work of other leaders in the field, and recommends steps that housing providers, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and other stakeholders can take to make trauma-informed housing the standard for affordable housing.


    What Is Trauma?

    According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, trauma is an experience that is physically or emotionally harmful with long-lasting adverse effects. Trauma can occur from an event, a series of events, or a set of circumstances and can occur at the individual or community level. It can affect an individual’s mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.