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May HHSA contract focused on supporting crime victims and trauma survivors & community health and crime prevention

Will Tarter
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August 14, 2023
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The Cuyahoga County Health, Human Services, and Aging Committee met on May 3, 2023, to consider one contract. The featured contract considered was an award of $20,000 to Brenda Glass Multipurpose Trauma Center from the District 9 ARPA Community Grant Fund.

Presenting to the HHSA committee was Candice Williams, Ohio State Director for the Alliance for Safety Justice (ASJ), Shakyra Diaz, Chief of Federal Advocacy for the Alliance for Safety Justice, and Brenda Glass, Executive Director of the Brenda Glass Multipurpose Trauma Center.

Diaz opened the presentation by providing an overview of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, and its presence in supporting the legislation. ASJ is a multi-state organization focused on reducing reliance on imprisonment and increasing investment in best practices that stop the cycle of crime. Diaz said that the Brenda Glass Multipurpose Trauma Center is one of the best models in the country.

What is a trauma recovery model?

The Brenda Glass Multipurpose Trauma Center is an example of a trauma recovery model – a model in which multiple services come together to support crime victims and trauma survivors, as well as promote community health and crime prevention, according to Williams. There are 44 trauma recovery centers across the country, including eight in Ohio. Unlike many other trauma centers, The Brenda Glass Multipurpose Trauma Center also includes a recovery housing component, which allows for people to transition to more stable housing.

There are 44 trauma recovery centers across the country, including eight in Ohio.

Glass described the history of the trauma support program, which started off as a faith-based childhood support program sponsored by churches in 2003 before transitioning to a trauma support center in 2017. She spoke of the ways in which her trauma center assists in violence prevention by working with individuals to not retaliate and to promote healing among those who are victims of crime, through counseling, peer support, and case management. The center works with all three major local hospitals, the county prosecutor’s office, and other organizations. The trauma center has safe recovery houses throughout the county; locations are private and confidential to ensure the protection of clients.

ARPA will help support The Brenda Glass Multipurpose Trauma Center

Councilwoman Meredith Turner asked the guests to speak directly about the $20,000 request. Glass responded that the $20,000 from the District 9 ARPA Community Grant Fund will assist with operational support for the center. In addition, the trauma center has received funds from the Community Violence Reduction ARPA dollars. Following Glass’s response, Councilwoman Turner shared her personal journey and why she was compelled to support this project.

Councilman Dale Miller asked more high-level questions, including whether Glass believes that the county is moving away from a model in which one agency may work with clients on one need, such as housing, and then another agency may assist with a need such as mental health care, etc.? Or, does she feel like responses are becoming more centralized, in which one single agency is responsible for a comprehensive number of services to meet the various needs of individuals? Glass said that she feels that the latter is true and that the trauma center is becoming the preferred method of support because if individuals are continuously transferred throughout various agencies for differing needs, they may drop out of important programs.

How can people learn about the The Brenda Glass Multipurpose Trauma Center and the work that they do?

Councilwoman Sunny Simon, who joined the meeting to listen to the presentation, asked how people can become aware of the agency and the work that they do. Glass said that clients are often referred by agencies such as hospitals, service providers, and the prosecutor’s office, but that members of the public can reach out directly through the website.

Vice Chairman Martin Sweeney, in an unusual move, decided to add an additional $10,000 from the Council 3 ARPA fund.

The resolution was passed out of the committee under second reading.

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