Trauma of Homelessness

Etel Haxhiaj, Brian Bickford and Maura Mahoney

Stable housing has always been the foundation of safety, health and hope for the future. As the pandemic drags on, conditions worsen for people that are already struggling. People face losing their homes and seeking shelter anywhere they can, including outdoors. Taking on this stigmatized identity brings endless unseen challenges. The impacts on individuals, families and our community are painful and pervasive. Our presenters have an intersectional analysis, abundant empathy and extensive experience working to addressing barriers at every level.

Etel Haxhiaj is the Director of Public Education and Advocacy at the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, and a candidate for City Council. She came to the US from Albania with her parents to escape an oppressive political regime. She earned a BA in International Development and Social Change and an MA in Community Development and Planning at Clark University. She was an organizer for Mothers Out Front, Member of SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice), and the YWCA in Worcester, among others. She is passionate about justice and equity for all.

Brian Bickford is Eliot Community Human Services’ Central Massachusetts PATH Team Leader, and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. He has spent his career engaging this challenging population by meeting them where they are literally and emotionally. He is leading change and advocating for long term housing stability.