A Drop-In Safety Group for Traumatized Homeless Women

Women currently comprise 25% of all individuals
who are homeless in the nation (Colorado
Coalition for the Homeless, 2012).
According to the National Alliance to End
Homelessness (NAEH; 2012), there were 636,017
people who were homeless in the United States
in 2011. It has been estimated that 37% of all
individuals who are homeless and are living in
shelters are women (U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development, Office of
Community Planning and Development [HUD],
This population of women is particularly
vulnerable, and is more likely to be victims of
sexual assault (Henny, Kidder, Stall, & Wolitski,
2007; Wenzel et al., 2006).
Depending on the region of the country,
between 20 and 60% of women report that
violence is the cause of their homelessness
(Jasinski, Wesley, Mustaine, & Wright, 2005;
U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2010).
In her survey on criminal violence in the United
States, Truman (2010) found that there were
approximately 188,380 rapes and sexual assaults
Establish a safe environment for
women who are homeless
survivors in which they will be
screened for trauma;
Women will be provided with
trauma-focused cognitive
behavioral therapy and group
counseling in a format adapted
to meet their special needs;
The program will also include
case management services in
order to empower the women to
begin their process of healing.
• One of the values of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW;
2006) is respect for the dignity and worth of a person. When looking at
the high rates of homelessness and victimization in women, it is critical to
the social work profession that adequate services exist to reach women
who are disenfranchised and have been victimized. Social work’s
participation in prevention and intervention efforts to address all forms of
violence against women, especially for those who are homeless
individuals, is crucial (NASW, 2006).
• The dignity and worth of these women have been stolen from them.
Social welfare policies that have been created to help women as well as
many service agencies in general, have enforced gender norms of
behavior on women, which in turn has re-victimized women (NASW, 2006).
Therefore, the social work relevance to this project is to identify women
who are homeless and have been victimized, and utilize an empathetic,
effective strategy in working with this population (NASW, 2006).
Women who are survivors of trauma and who
come from culturally diverse backgrounds are
particularly vulnerable and have a high rate of
victimization. Sexual assault affects all ethnic
and diverse populations. The National Institute of
Justice (2006) states that, over 11% of Hispanic,
over 18% of African-American, over 34% of
American Indian/Alaska Native, over 24% of mixed
race, and over 6% of Asian/Pacific Islander women
have been raped in their lifetimes.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence report of 2009 revealed that
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rape rose 48% in the year 2008 from
the previous year. For these reasons, cultural competency is essential.
Cultural competency is vital to program development and direct practice to
achieve effective, positive outcomes of interventions that are being
applied. Social workers should be aware of and understand the cultural
differences of the populations they serve.
The target population identified by this grant is women who are homeless in the City of Long Beach that have experienced
some form of victimization. They will be individuals that have been or will be accessing services from a homeless agency,
hospital emergency room, local police department, homeless shelters, as well as those who have been living on the street, or
along the Los Angeles riverbed.
The funding source for the Drop-In Safety Group for Traumatized Homeless Women was found using varied methods. The
World Wide Web was used to search and access databases for funding. Various federal government agencies were searched,
such as, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); the
U.S. Department of Justice; the National Criminal Justice Reference; the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence
Against Women; and Grants.gov. Grant funding opportunities with the state of California, the county of Los Angeles, Los
Angeles Housing Services for the Homeless (LAHSA), Center for Non-Profit Management in Southern California, and the NonProfit Resource Library Center for Healthy Communities in Los Angeles were also explored. Grants within the City of Long
Beach and the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership were all explored. Women’s organizations, such as the National Online
Resource Center on Violence Against Women and the Avon Foundation for Women were also searched. Multiple key phrases
were used in Internet and database search engines, such as “victimization of women,” “female survivors of sexual assault,”
and “women who are homeless and victimized.”
The Carrie Estelle Dohney Foundation (2012) was identified through the Foundation Library database as the fifth potential
funder. More in-depth information was gathered on the foundation’s website. The Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation is an
independent organization founded in California in 1949 by Ms. Doheny to carry on her charitable life’s work. The foundation
primarily funds nonprofit organizations in the county of Los Angeles, and is interested in the advancement of education;
medicine; science; the improvement of the health and welfare of children, adults, families, and the aged; the help and care
of the sick and incapacitated; and the aid of those in need. Funding that is given in the area of health and welfare includes
adults, family services, housing and shelter, the homeless, health educational programs and programs, for the disabled.
Program development is also an area of interest for funding. In 2010 grants between $3,000 and $1 million were awarded in
the area of aid to those in need, and in health and welfare. The average funding was approximately $75,000. The Carrie
Estelle Doheny foundation does not set a monetary limit on requests made for funding for the homeless and for the calendar
year of 2011 gave special funding consideration to those grant proposals intended to help the homeless population. Grant
applications are reviewed on a month-to-month basis and there are no deadlines for the submission of grant applications.
Also, there are no requirements for a letter of intent prior to the submission of a grant proposal. Therefore, the Carrie
Estelle Doheny Foundation was chosen as the potential funder for this proposed grant.
METHODOLOGY- Drop-In Safety Group for Homeless Traumatized Women
Program Director-- MSW (FTE)
Benefits @ 25%
2 Group Facilitators-- BSW (PTE)
25hrs @ $15h/r
Out Reach Worker-- BSW (FTE)
2 Peer Interns—(Stypend)
Total Personnel
Direct Program Expenses
Office Supplies (pens, paper, etc.)
Equipment (computers)
Care Packages
Training/Program Curriculum
Total Direct Program Costs
Total Direct and Personnel Costs
Indirect Program Expenses
Administration (human resources,
utilities, etc.) @ 10%
Total Indirect Costs
Total In-kind Support
Total Program Cost
A Drop-In Safety Group for Traumatized Homeless Women program will serve the Long Beach, California
community engaging women who are homeless and sheltered and have experienced victimization. The
program will be composed of elements derived from Trauma Safety Drop-In Group: A Clinical Model of
Group Treatment for Survivors of Trauma (Gilchrist & Rainbow, 1998). The Gilchrist and Rainbow program
is comprised of an open-ended group format with 12 topics for groups. It covers the early stages of
recovery, and also addresses women who are in later stages of the healing process. Despite the lack of
empirical research, the review of the existing literature has revealed the need for the implementation of
a curriculum of this type for the targeted population. An asset of Gilchrist and Rainbow’s (1998) program
is that the program was developed so women can attend at their own pace without adherence to a
continuous structured format. This was a crucial point, since the targeted population has varied barriers
to stability. Gilchrist and Rainbow’s program was initially found in the Models of Developing TraumaInformed Behavioral Health Systems and Trauma-Specific Services report (Jennings, 2008) through the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The proposed program will be located in Tom Redgate Memorial Recovery Center (TRMRC) in a room
provided by the center. The program will also collaborate with TRMRC to include the clients of their
center, and, as a result, will increase services for those staying in the recovery center. In conversation
with the director of the TRMRC, it was discussed that the program would be valuable to their clients as
there is no current trauma intervention in place for the clients of the center. The program will not only
benefit the unsheltered women of the community, but also the women of the center.
Due to the instability of women who are homeless and the uncertainty of beginning trauma-specific
treatment, the program will be designed as an open-ended group. Due to the sensitivity of the topic,
women may not be ready to make the commitment that is required of continued attendance in a
structured conventional therapy group. The program will be structured so that women can join at any
point and continue at the pace at which they are able to attend. There will be eight groups with topics
such as safety skills development, support networks, and education.
The goals of the Drop-In Safety Group for Traumatized Homeless Women program are to
provide women who are survivors of trauma with an organized and structured forum to build
their resiliency and improve their daily functioning and safety. The program will offer skillbuilding tools, genuine support, the freedom to choose to break the silence, and become
empowered to move beyond simply surviving.
There are six objectives to meet the program’s goals. They are: (a) Recruit and hire
personnel who have experience and knowledge related to trauma, homelessness, and
community resources; (b) Identify women who are homeless survivors of trauma and engage
these women in attending the drop-in group; (c) Provide education and support to 100
women annually who are homeless survivors of trauma and those in the Redgate residential
program; (d) Reduce the number of trauma-related symptoms among both groups of women;
(e) Measure program outcomes; (f) provide ongoing staff development and intern training .
The Drop-In Safety Group for Traumatized Homeless Women program will utilize pre-and
post-test questionnaires and follow-up surveys including the Davidson Trauma Scale (1996), to
measure the program’s outcomes and effectiveness. When the women have completed the
program they will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to evaluate the program’s overall
intervention techniques in the areas of group facilitation skills, relationship-building,
communication, and referrals to community resources. The evaluations will be used in the
future to adjust the program for greater effectiveness. At 30-day and 90-day intervals, and
after the women complete the program, they will be contacted to complete a questionnaire
to measure how well the women are coping with life. Some of the questions will include how
the women are functioning, whether they are receiving ongoing therapy, whether they have
been able to acquire employment, and whether they are sheltered or permanently housed.
The Grant-Writing Process: The grant-writing process gives several opportunities for varied learning experiences. Once the
literature review was completed, and the need for an intervention was ascertained, a program was then developed that
would best meet the complex needs of women survivors of trauma who are experiencing homelessness. The Foundation
Library database was utilized and yielded an abundance of prospective funders. The Foundation’s database also provided a
way to organize the desired not-for-profit organizations that would be the best fit for the program and a potential funding
source. In using the valuable resource of the Foundation Library database, more information was gained regarding the
organizations offering grant monies, such as the history of the not-for-profit organizations, their missions, the population
served with past grants, and the size of the grants awarded. It is crucial to match the right funder to the program
developed. Furthermore, the grant-writing process is also vital in developing an understanding of the research process and
the importance of accuracy. In order to underline the necessity of a program to engage and treat the target population, an
in-depth persuasive literature review was essential, as it would provide the reader with a clear picture of the need for the
proposed program.
Collaboration: Taking into consideration that there could be barriers in locating a host agency is important. Originally an
agency was chosen that was amenable to hosting the proposed program; however, during the research portion of the
project, the agency withdrew their support and another agency had to be found to host the project. An essential lesson was
learned about the importance of having an alternate plan in place to draw on when unforeseen circumstances arise. Once a
host agency was secured, there was collaboration with the agency to develop the necessary budget items and determine
how the budget will be implemented. All data needed to complete a grant application process, such as the yearly operating
budget, staff salaries, and training costs, the in-kind support from the agency was determined, as well as what the actual
grant funding would support was determined. The in-kind support was beneficial for the project, as it allowed the funding
from the actual grant to be used for salaries for staff and training, as well as other direct or indirect costs. Overall, the
collaboration was an important learning process and a critical step in the development of the grant application.
Social Work Implication: Grant writing is a vital function for the social work professional who may be implementing a new
program. Funds that are acquired through grants are essential to the success of any program being developed and,
subsequently, for the continued success of those programs that are operational. With the current downturn of the economy,
it is much more challenging than ever to be funded by a donor. Federal and State funding is limited due to the budget crisis,
and non-profit agencies are offering fewer funds due to the crisis. Competition is great; therefore, it is crucial for the social
worker to be knowledgeable of the grant-writing process. Research is fundamental in the areas of developing a compelling
argument for the need of the program. Strong, clear writing skills to articulate the significant needs of the population being
served, as well as painting a convincing picture of the program are essential. Programs are developed, implemented, and
maintained through the financial support of grants. It is the responsibility of the social worker to advocate for the
populations they serve. One of the ways to advocate for clients is to ensure that there are programs and services available
in the community to address their varied needs.
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.(2012). The characteristics of homeless women. Retrieved from
Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation. (2012). About the foundation. Retrieved from http:// www.dohenyfoundation.org
Gilchrist, P., & Rainbow, P. (1998). The trauma safety drop-in group: A clinical model of group treatment for survivors of
trauma. Albany: New York State Office of Mental Health.
Henny, K., Kidder, D., Stall, R., & Wolitski, R. (2007). Physical and sexual abuse among homeless and unstably housed
HIV: Prevalence and associated risks. AIDS and Behavior, 11(6), 842-853.
adults living with
Jasinski, J. L., Wesley, J. K., Mustaine, E., & Wright, J. D. (2005). National criminal justice reference service. Retrieved from U.S.
Department of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service website: www.ncjrs.gov
National Alliance to End Homelessness (2012). The state of homelessness in America 2012. Retrieved from
National Association of Social Workers. (2006). Social work speaks (7th ed.). Washington, DC: NASW Press.
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. (2009). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer violence in the U.S. report in 2008
[Annual report]. Retrieved from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence website: http://www.ncavp.org
National Institute of Justice. (2006). Extent, nature, and consequences of rape victimization: Findings from the national violence against
women survey (NCJ 210346). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
Truman, J. L. (2010). National crime victimization survey: Criminal victimization, 2010 (NCJ 235508). Washington, DC: Government
U.S. Conference of Mayors. (2010). Hunger and homelessness survey: A status report on hunger and homelessness in America’s cities
[Survey]. Retrieved from the U.S. Conference of Mayors website: http://usmayors.org
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development. (2010). The 2010 annual homeless
assessment report to Congress [Annual report HUD No. 11 - 121]. Retrieved from United States Department of Housing and
Urban Development website: http://portal.hud.gov/ hudportal/HUD
Wenzel, S. L., Tucker, J. S., Hambarsoomian, K., & Elliot, M. N. (2006). Toward a more comprehensive understanding of violence against
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