I am a survivor of domestic violence and all of its consequences and side effects: emotional instability, housing instability, risk to health and safety…all of it. I am a survivor, and this is my story.
The Center for Social Innovation will host the Dawn Jahn Moses memorial lecture on June 30th about the intersection of intimate partner violence, child well-being, and resilience with human rights activist, William Kellibrew, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department Children and Families, Linda Spears, Carmela DeCandia, Psy.D., faculty at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions, and Rachel Latta, Ph.D., Director of Trauma and Violence Prevention at the Center for Social Innovation.
Before I joined the Center for Social Innovation, I worked at a residential treatment program for adolescent girls with behavioral health issues. All had experienced severe or recurring trauma. Most were neglected or abused by a person close to them. For some, their childhood trauma included periods of homelessness. They had spent time on the streets, in shelters, doubled up with friends or family members, and in unstable housing where they were one crisis away from another bout of homelessness.
December 2014. This is the time of year when newspapers and television programs pay attention to homelessness again. Unfortunately, homelessness doesn’t begin at Thanksgiving and end at New Years. For all too many men, women, children, and youth, homelessness is a painful, traumatic daily reality. America’s Youngest Outcasts, a state report card on child homelessness from the National Center on Family Homelessness, recently reported that 2.5 million children in America experienced homelessness over the past year. That shocking number, 2.5 million, means that 1 out of every 30 American children have been homeless in the last year. 2.5 million is roughly the size of the greater Kansas City metro area, or the population of Birmingham, Cleveland, Portland, and Albuquerque…combined. Imagine that: a city of 2.5 million people filled with children experiencing homelessness. It is hard to comprehend.