WXXI Local Stories
10:13 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Local Study Links Past Trama and Homelessness Among Women and Children

Credit pumabydesign001.com

Health and education experts and researchers will be meeting in Rochester Wednesday to come up with a plan to help families break the cycle of homelessness.

A two-and-a-half year study funded by the Wilson Foundation looked at outcomes among women and their children who stayed in local emergency shelters, transitional housing or permanent supportive housing. 

Megan Bell, executive director at the Wilson Foundation says the findings show that 93-percent of the mothers had a history of trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse.  Eighty-one-percent had experienced multiple traumas.                     

"Those are really big findings. I think it's often overlooked. A lot of people look at unemployment or education and those weren't the biggest predictors of residential instability. Those actually weren't large predictors at all. It's really the trauma and how that affects the moms."

The majority of the women followed in the study suffered from major depression, and their children often deal with numerous physical and emotional issues.

Bell says the results of the study suggest that homeless facilities should offer clients access to quality programs and services to treat emotional trauma.