• Christine

COTIP Bringing Trauma-informed Design to Transitional Housing for Women and Children

Cowart Trauma Informed Partnership

is pleased to announce that we will be partnering with Canopy / architecture + design

to bring the Trauma-informed Design framework

to new facility for

Connections for Abused Women and their Children.


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 has 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 will be 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.



As part of the Trauma-informed Design Society, Cowart Trauma Informed Partnership (COTIP) is honored to be named as trauma-informed design consultants for this project, and to be joining 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. COTIP will be using the Trauma-informed Design (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, COTIP will develop an understanding of the community that would be using the space, and use that information and the TiD framework, to develop evidence-based design recommendations, customized to stakeholders’ expressed hopes, desires, and goals and developed to make the end users feel safe and secure within the space. To ensure successful implementation of the TiD approach, COTIP will be involved throughout the CAWC project.



The Trauma-informed Design Society is a transdisciplinary team with a focus on turning research into practice, and back into research. Located across the United States, the Society merges the co-founders’ extensive experience in human services and interior design with an understanding of trauma science, to help organizations implement a trauma-informed approach in their services and create stress-reducing physical spaces.

With the Society's involvement on a project, designers and architects can rest easy knowing that they are receiving the best-of-the-best in this field. As leaders of one of the only trauma-informed design organizations in the world, their knowledge of this burgeoning field enables them to provide a service to firms which is uniquely beneficial for each specific project and the occupants they will serve. They bring empathy, while using evidence-based design practices to enhance the experience of the end-users of created spaces. This results in safe, holistic, soothing, forward-thinking design. With their combined experience, they bring the elusive element of resilience to projects, resulting in deeply profound and successful designs that can be showcased.



Two of the Society's co-founders, Christine Cowart and Janet

Roche will be collaborating on this project. Our founder Christine, will be providing the trauma-informed care lens, while Janet Roche, an interior designer and faculty member of the Boston Architectural College specializing in design for human health, will bring the design focus. Together, they bring a unified approach to the work, and will provide customized, evidence-based, trauma-informed design recommendations to the design team.

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