New Paper Expands Approach to Strengthening High-Poverty, Trauma-Affected Communities

SAN FRANCISCO, August 1, 2018—A new white paper released by BRIDGE Housing updates and expands upon an innovative model for strengthening high-poverty, challenged communities as part of housing transformation efforts.

“Trauma Informed Community Building: The Evolution of a Community Engagement Model in a Trauma Impacted Neighborhood” is based on BRIDGE’s decade of experience in San Francisco’s South Potrero neighborhood. At Potrero, BRIDGE is undertaking a comprehensive revitalization effort—under San Francisco’s HOPE SF program—to rebuild 619 units of distressed public housing and create another 1,000 new homes with a range of affordability, community facilities, retail, open space, and programs and services to improve the lives of current and future generations.

The new paper is an updated and expanded version of the original Trauma Informed Community Building (TICB) model, which BRIDGE and San Francisco State University introduced in 2014. It reflects lessons on the ground and fresh insights into the model’s impacts and challenges, and includes an evaluation framework to help practitioners implement and measure the model in their communities.

“For decades, we have seen many community development initiatives and redevelopment efforts fall short of the community building and long-term social impacts they aim to achieve,” said Cynthia Parker, President and CEO of BRIDGE Housing. “In the community development field, TICB has emerged as a nationally recognized promising practice and an essential ingredient in the successful transformation of low-income neighborhoods into thriving communities.”

The TICB model recognizes that community trauma hampers participation in traditional community building and limits the impacts of broader community development efforts. At the Potrero site—as at many other public housing sites across the nation—cumulative trauma results from daily stressors such as concentrated poverty, chronic health and mental health conditions, violence, low levels of education, and structural racism and isolation.

“TICB is a proactive model that serves as a precursor to traditional community development: it assumes that communities require a set of common experiences and conditions to participate fully in community building and benefit from sustained community development,” said Emily Weinstein, who co-authored the paper with BRIDGE and Harder+Company Community Research.

To download a free copy of “Trauma Informed Community Building: The Evolution of a Community Engagement Model in a Trauma Impacted Neighborhood,” visit

For more information about BRIDGE’s work at Potrero Terrace and Annex, visit


BRIDGE Housing