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Transitional Housing for Women and Children

We partnered with with Canopy / architecture + design to bring the Trauma-informed Design framework to new facility for 

Connections for Abused Women and their Children.

CAWC Rendering.png

Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) provides a shelter for adults and children, counseling, advocacy, and a 24-hour hotline for people affected by domestic violence. They believe that all people have a right to violence-free lives and are committed to ending domestic violence. Using a self-help, empowerment approach, they work for social change through education, service collaboration, and institutional advocacy.


CAWC offers various programs, including the Humboldt Park Outreach Program (HPOP), a walk-in program that provides individual and group counseling to victims of abuse and their children, as well as enhanced children’s therapeutic services. CAWC is also a collaborative partner in the West Side Domestic Abuse Project (WSDAP), an intervention program for men who batter.


CAWAC acquired a new property in the East Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago, to which they plan to relocate their administrative offices and transitional residences. A leading social impact architecture firm in Chicago, Canopy / architecture + design, is providing the design of this new facility. Canopy was founded based on the notion that architecture can be used as a vehicle for positive change, and brings an expertise in multi-phase construction and major renovation projects; socially-driven, multi-unit housing; and community-based design for vulnerable groups and individuals.

We were honored to be named as Trauma-informed Design (TiD) consultants for this project, and to join the impressive team of all women- and BIPOC-owned firms assembled by Canopy for the design, building and landscape architecture, civil and structural engineering, and cost and permitting functions. We used the TiD framework, grounded in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) guidelines for a trauma-informed approach, to develop design recommendations intended to lower stress levels.


To do this, we developed an understanding of the community that would be using the space, and used that information and our framework to develop evidence-based design recommendations, customized to stakeholders’ expressed hopes, desires, and goals.  We worked with CAWC and Canopy to develop a design that could help residents feel safe and secure within the space. 

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