Intake screening reveals that the majority of adults entering our emergency shelter have long histories of traumatic stress, including Adverse Childhood Experiences. In addition to challenging behavioral responses stemming from trauma, people experiencing homelessness also suffer from depression, substance use disorder, and severe behavioral health conditions and we see this in the families we serve.

This combination of issues leaves families even more vulnerable, interferes with their ability to work, impairs their social networks, and further complicates their service needs. We will be unable to solve the issues of homelessness without addressing the underlying trauma that is so intricately linked to housing instability.

Many of the children in our programs have also experienced trauma prior to becoming homeless, and homelessness can exacerbate the consequences of trauma or re-traumatize a child, resulting in a cycle that is tragically damaging and
costly to both individuals and communities.

Friends staff work diligently to create an environment of safety, trust, respect, and choice while promoting self-advocacy.  Caseworkers work one-on-one with our families to help them set their own goals and empower them by building family resilience.


Following the SAMSHA model, there are Six Guiding Principles of Trauma-Informed Care:

  • Safety
  • Trustworthiness and Transparency
  • Peer Support and Mutual Self Help
  • Collaboration and Mutuality
  • Empowerment, Voice, and Choice
  • Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues

Research has consistently shown that when the right supports are in place, the majority of young people who grow up amidst extremely challenging circumstances not only survive but end up as thriving adults.