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United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley Uses Grant to Strengthen Housing and Homeless Services

 

Bethlehem, PA – United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (UWGLV) received a $20,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Community Learning Collaborative grant was awarded to UWGLV in partnership with Resilient Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley and Pocono Regional Homeless Advisory Boards and New Bethany Ministries. The funded initiative seeks to strengthen the housing and homeless services system in the region through training centered on trauma-informed approaches. UWGLV was eligible for the grant after being named a national finalist for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Community of Health award.

This initiative brings the Regional Homeless Advisory Boards (RHAB) together to focus on building a trauma-informed approach at a systems level. The grant will increase the effectiveness of homeless prevention through peer-to-peer learning and will provide opportunities for RHAB members to learn from experts about secondary, historical, and racial trauma.

“By bringing the Lehigh Valley and Pocono RHABs together, we have the opportunity to learn from each other about ways to support trauma-informed approaches that apply to each region’s unique needs,” said Erin Connelly, Senior Director of Impact for UWGLV. “Ultimately, the goal is to have a regional housing and homeless services system that is equitable and supports stability and healing.”

While the Pocono Region will learn from the Lehigh Valley about ways to build cross-sector trauma-informed systems, the Lehigh Valley will discover best practices specific to rural communities and ideas for ways to address significant geographic barriers, such as transportation. Each region has committed to joint advocacy efforts and standardizing practices.

Over 100 people attended a series of workshops held earlier this season that focused on understanding the impact of historical and racialized trauma on communities of color as well as how to recognize and prevent signs of secondary and vicarious trauma among staff. Dr. Hasshan Batts of Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley will administer the final session on November 10, Building Equitable Systems and Resilient Communities. For more information, visit the registration website.

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