Home is powerful. It can be a place of belonging where we can dream of possibilities and find the platform from which to make our dreams reality. A quality, affordable home can be a platform for improved health, increased access to opportunity, and the independence and dignity of residents. To realize these full benefits, housing and services must be trauma-informed, and prioritize the voices of residents while providing residents with agency to shape the design, culture, and the operations of their communities.
Resident Voice & Agency
Residents should have a voice in the day-to-day decisions affecting their communities. This is an important step to cultivating personal agency – or the sense of being in control of one’s actions and having the ability to accomplish one’s goals. Personal agency, along with sense of belonging and connection to a community, play a significant role in a person's wellbeing.
Over the years, SAHF and its members have been exploring opportunities for affordable housing providers to better prioritize and support resident voice and agency.
- Resident Voice and Agency in Affordable Rental Housing: A Qualitative Analysis (2020), made possible with support from the Kresge Foundation & SAHF members
- Framework and Guidelines for the System of Resident Services Coordination (2021 Update), developed with SAHF member input to support services informed by resident voice & priorities
- Measuring Resident Agency and Voice in an Affordable Housing Setting: A Set of Guiding Questions to Move Forward (2022), made possible with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kresge Foundation, & SAHF member input
- Toolkit for Resident Centered Outcomes Measurement in Affordable Rental Housing (2023), made possible with support from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund
In a related body of work, SAHF has been exploring where there are opportunities for housing providers to address trauma and toxic stress - through design, property operations, and resident engagement. In 2020, as two public health crises - COVID-19 and the impacts of systemic racism - came to the forefront, it was clear that the field had to further adapt practices to mitigate and reduce trauma experienced by residents and frontline staff.
- A Culture of Caring: A Compendium of Self-Care Tools and Workforce Support Principles for Front-Line Staff in Service-Enriched Housing (2018), made possible with support from the Kresge Foundation and SAHF member input
- SAHF Member Resident Mental and Behavioral Health Profiles (2019), made possible with SAHF member input on strategies to support the mental health of residents
- How Affordable Housers Perpetuate Past Harms, and How They Can Do Better (2022), thought piece published by Shelterforce
- A Trauma-Informed Housing Toolkit (2023), was developed by SAHF member Preservation of Affordable Housing in collaboration with six partners (including SAHF), to test a “trauma- resilient” housing model
What is Trauma-Informed Housing?
Additional information on resident voice and agency as well as trauma-informed housing resources can be found on both the Updates & Resources sections of our website using the “Centering Residents” topic filter; and additional tools can be found in the CORES Resource Library.