Professional Staff, Trauma-informed Care

September 1, 2020

The young adults we serve at our LGBTQ supportive housing have mental health and substance use issues related to the traumas of homelessness and abuse.

The fear, sadness and frustration we’ve all experienced in this moment can be especially challenging for those who’ve previously had their mental illness under control. Too often, communities under stress are over-policed when social services like behavioral health care are needed.

This past month, Mina Chauhan (director of LGBTQ supportive housing in the Bronx), Michelle Vasquez (clinical case manager), and Zoie Coleman (security guard) worked together using de-escalation techniques to calm a young adult tenant—and prevent police involvement.

These situations are not uncommon in supportive housing. Staff often go above and beyond—Mina also went grocery shopping for a tenant fearful of leaving the apartment due to COVID-19.

However, because staff view such moments as expected parts of the regular quality care they provide, it isn’t easy getting staff to share these stories. Kimberly Marshall (chief program officer) notes the staff’s humility and commitment to “doing the work the right way.”

“How we serve tenants does not seem to be extraordinary,” says Mina, “because it is our passion to assist and be the best we can.”