YWCA is committed to creating a safe and stable environment at Norma Herr Women’s Center so that our guests can focus on achieving their housing, health, and employment goals. However, experiencing homelessness is traumatic and crisis can be unavoidable, especially in high-stress situations shelter guests may face. This year, Norma Herr staff recognized that while crisis intervention is needed, traditional security techniques do not align with the respect and trauma-informed approach that is so integral to our programs. Traditional crisis intervention is widely known to escalate and traumatize those in or observing a crisis, potentially with many long-term negative effects.
Seeing a need for change, Norma Herr staff worked to create the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) to increase the capacity for compassionate, clinical security of all guests and staff.
The ultimate focus of the CIT is to create and support a safe environment that is conducive to community living, which means ending conflict through building relationships between staff and guests. The CIT is based on the fact that stabilization after emotional or psychological dysregulation is more likely to succeed when guests feel psychologically and emotionally safe with staff.
During incidents where a guest is having a mental or physical health crisis and/or engaging in behaviors that are maladaptive to communal living, the CIT provides crisis and security intervention to de-escalate and protect the safety of those in crisis, other guests, and staff. With de-escalation as the priority, the CIT vastly reduces the need for individuals in crisis to be involved with the criminal justice system. Working in tandem with clinical staff, the CIT creates the opportunity to support those in crisis both immediately and long-term. This trauma-informed, compassionate crisis intervention supports and assists the staff in maintaining an environment of harmonious living for guests and working for staff.
The newness of this team allows for much room for growth. Your gift will help us grow the CIT to achieve its goals of:
- Developing a foundation that promotes effective solutions for assisting those in crisis or with behavioral health challenges,
- Facilitating interdepartmental communication regarding guest crisis,
- Improving the crisis intervention influence of shelter advocates, and
- Increasing the resources available to the clinical team.
We believe that sustaining and growing this new team is key to the future of Norma Herr Women’s Center. With your help, we can grow the CIT to improve the safety of guests. staff, and the Cleveland community. Support this amazing initiative and consider making a gift today.