The Bassuk Center

Responding to Trauma

Understanding housing instability through the lens of trauma

More than 90% of mothers in families experiencing homelessness report incidents of severe trauma in their lives, especially interpersonal violence. Children experiencing homelessness and housing instability are exposed to multiple traumatic stresses with serious negative health and mental health outcomes (see Understanding ACEs).

To respond to this high prevalence of trauma, caregivers can provide trauma-informed care—a strengths-based organizational approach in which all services and care settings are developed and provided through the lens of trauma.

To adopt trauma-informed care, all staff are trained to understand how trauma operates and how to reduce “triggers” of a post-trauma response. Programs are adapted to support client choice and empowerment, and balance provider/client power differentials to establish respectful, trusting relationships. When trauma-informed principles are in place, healing for families is enhanced and staff is supported in their work.

Across the nation, health and mental health care organizations, schools, criminal justice institutions, and community providers are adopting trauma-informed care. The Bassuk Center collaborates with C4 Innovations to provide organizational assessment, training, and ongoing consultation.

Hands Reaching Out


The TICOMETER © is a scientifically validated instrument developed and used exclusively by the Bassuk Center to evaluate an organization’s needs and progress in implementing trauma-informed care.

Using 35 items across five domains, the TICOMETER © measures an organization's level of engagement in trauma-informed practices. The assessment takes approximately 15 minutes for staff members to complete online and organizational scores are available immediately.

The five TICOMETER © domains include:

  • Building trauma-informed knowledge and skills
  • Establishing trusting relationships
  • Respecting service users
  • Fostering trauma-informed service delivery
  • Promoting trauma-informed policies and procedures

The Bassuk Center uses the TICOMETER © as part of our trauma training engagements in partnership with C4 Innovations. To learn more, read the journal article or visit the TICOMETER ©.