A Baltimore City Health Department program for young victims of trauma and their families has grown by more than 500% since its founding in 2016.
For the number of individuals killed over the year, police data shows that hundreds more survive a traumatic experience and need support as they heal, including those peripherally harmed by an incident.
Hallie Miller, Baltimore Banner correspondent and author of the referenced article, notes the atypical nature of local health departments playing a role in victims services but highlighted the limitations of existing programs. Many primary and secondary victims are not comfortable taking their situation to the police or pressing charges. The affect is a shortfall in resources for individuals who had experienced trauma but were not eligible for the types support they needed in order to keep their life on track.
Mark Mason directs the program at the health department and explains that they have their own criteria for determining eligibility into the program and can accept more people than the state’s attorney’s fund. Since its beginnings, the program has provided $300,000 in rent relief. Additionally, money and services can be allocated to subsidize security deposits as well as groceries, mental health care, coordinating transportation and payments for other services such as driver’s education and workforce development training. They also will advocate on a victims behalf at school, at work or in rent court.
Miller notes, that “although the program can’t solve crimes or heal physical wounds, it is assisting young victims of primary or secondary trauma with basic needs as they get back on their feet.”