Trauma & Housing

The connection between trauma and housing is multifaceted. The housing system can cause trauma, can intersect with other systems that have caused trauma and can trigger trauma. Here are some examples:


Racial discrimination in housing, such as redlining, restrictive covenants and exclusionary zoning displaces longtime residents and prevents the accumulation of wealth through homeownership.

Housing that is mismanaged or under-resourced means that critical repairs go unmet. The result is unhealthy living conditions within homes, which can contribute to or exacerbate health issues, such as asthma.

A housing eviction is traumatic in and of itself. When housing providers report evictions to external entities, it also limits a household’s ability to obtain new rental housing in the future.


Housing that is poorly located contributes to poor health outcomes. For example, housing in unhealthy or economically disconnected environment, such as near an industrial zone, in a flood plain or disconnected from schools, grocery, and cultural amenities by a highway.

Family members with involvement in the criminal justice system are unable to obtain their own housing or co-house with their HUD-assisted family members. This limits housing options and disrupts a family’s ability to support one another materially and emotionally.

To obtain emergency rent assistance and avoid eviction, a funding program requires a household to first obtain an eviction notice, initiating the very process the household seeks to avoid.


Housing rules and policies are often communicated in punitive and disempowering language. Over time these messages diminish resident’s sense of agency and power over their housing situation.

Unit inspections are important for health and safety reasons but are often repeated for funders, investors or other stakeholders. Frequent strangers in one’s home can disrupt a resident’s sense of safety.

Housing rules are often “high stakes,” missing an appointment or misinterpreting a notice can result in a lease violation or, even worse, an eviction.

At POAH, we understand that trauma can have an impact on residents, staff and communities. Watch this video to learn more:



Key Takeaways from the Video

  • Trauma-informed housing recognizes the likelihood that most people have experienced trauma, including affordable housing residents, staff and communities.

  • Trauma-informed housing is about changing our perspective. Instead of asking "What's wrong?" we ask, "What happened?"

  • Trauma-informed responses show how this approach can benefit property management, resident services, human resources, and building design.

  • Ultimately, trauma-informed housing can have a positive impact on both people and the bottom line.

Learn more about the relationship between trauma & housing in "Trauma-Informed Housing: A Deeper Dive into the Intersection of Trauma & Housing" 
Back to top