Trauma-informed approaches to community building

Trauma-informed approaches to community building use a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder approach to support and strengthen traumatized and distressed residents and communities and address the effects of unresolved trauma such as violence, poverty, homelessness, social isolation, and racism. Efforts often include community building activities such as gardening, group exercises, and community art projects, along with housing development, leadership training, and supports for low income and public housing residents (BRIDGE 2014, Peace4Tarpon).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Improved health outcomes

  • Increased social connectedness

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Improved mental health

  • Increased physical activity

  • Improved neighborhood safety

Evidence of Effectiveness

Trauma-informed approaches to community building are a suggested strategy to improve health outcomes and social connections in low income communities (AECF-TICB 2015). Available evidence from early implementation of the Trauma Informed Community Building model in Potrero Hill, San Francisco suggests these initiatives may improve mental health and increase physical activity, increase connections among individuals from different cultures and generations, and increase feelings of safety among participants (AECF-TICB 2015). Evaluations of Peace4Tarpon, a Florida-based trauma informed effort, are not publicly available. Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects as this approach is implemented and studied more widely.

Impact on Disparities

Likely to decrease disparities

Implementation Examples

The Trauma Informed Community Building (TICB) model, developed by BRIDGE Housing Corporation and Health Equity Institute, incorporates housing development and community activities (BRIDGE 2014). Peace4Tarpon, a trauma informed community initiative in Tarpon Spring, Florida, supports low income school children and offers community events in partnership with other community-based organizations (Peace4Tarpon). Gainesville Florida launched Peace4Gainesville, modeled after Peace4Tarpon, in 2014 (Peace4Gainesville). A trauma informed community development initiative is also in its early stages in Pittsburgh, PA (FOCUS-Pittsburgh). 

Implementation Resources

US HUD-Community Building 2014 - US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD). Community building in choice neighborhoods: Webinar on September 3, 2014.

Citations - Evidence

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AECF-TICB 2015 - Hope SF Learning Center. Trauma informed community building evaluation: A formative evaluation of the TICB model and its implementation in Potrero Hill. Baltimore, MD: The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF); 2015.

Citations - Implementation Examples

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

BRIDGE 2014 - Weinstein E, Wolin J, Rose S. Trauma informed community building: A model for strengthening community in trauma affected neighborhoods. San Francisco: BRIDGE Housing Corporation (BRIDGE), Health Equity Institute; 2014.

Peace4Tarpon - Peace4Tarpon. Trauma informed community initiative.

Peace4Gainesville - Peace4Gainesville. A trauma responsive community initiative.

FOCUS-Pittsburgh - FOCUS North America. Community development: what is trauma informed community development?

Date Last Updated

Mar 26, 2016