This paper examines an empirical investigation of the lifetime prevalence of trauma (defined as sexual and/or physical abuse) in a cohort of adults enrolled in a federally funded initiative that provides treatment for homeless persons suffering the effects of comorbid substance use and serious mental illness, and considers the impact of this information on clinical programming. Data collected from homeless individuals with co-occurring disorders admitted to the Seeking Treatment and Recovery (STAR) Program during a one year period (n=78) were analyzed for a history of trauma events. Of those individuals evaluated, 79.5% (62/78) acknowledged a history of either physical and/or sexual abuse at some time in their lifetimes. Of this population, 100% of the homeless women (27/27) with co-occurring disorders had experienced a life-altering traumatic event while 68.6% (35/51) of the homeless men also reported trauma histories.
We describe the trauma-based interventions made in the STAR Program that have the potential for replication in other initiatives committed to serving homeless individuals with co-occurring disorders.