New Research Shows the Connection Between Poverty, Violence, and Trauma

March 31, 2017


The Illinois Poverty Report 2017 argues that reducing poverty and treating trauma can disrupt the cycle of violence."

Here at the YMCA of Metro Chicago, we care about our families and communities. This is why we implemented violence prevention as one of our four mission anchors along with academic readiness, character development, and fitness and healthy living. Watch the video below to see Eddie Bocanegra, the executive director of the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) program, share his story along with research from Heartland Alliance experts.

Findings in the Heartland Alliance Illinois Poverty Report shows the relationship between unaddressed trauma, violence, and poverty. Just one incident can have lasting effects, but repeated exposure to violence can lead to a risk of severe behavioral, social and psychological problems. Two out of every three children are exposed to violence, either as witnesses or victims.

The Illinois Poverty Report reveals the vast amount of unaddressed trauma that persists in low-income Chicagoans, which make up nearly half of the city population. The report also provides in-depth data on the findings on poverty throughout Illinois.

Some of the suggested solutions to the complex crisis are not quick band-aid fixes. Reformation of the criminal justice system, making health care more accessible, educating and promoting employment opportunities are more long-term and necessary investments. Interrupting the devastating effects of trauma, facilitating healing and integrating trauma-informed approaches into services provides a solution for impacted individuals and communities.

Learn more at the Heartland Alliance.