CINCINNATI — It was the middle of the night when someone vandalized Kijai Khamisi’s home, where she lives with her two sons.
Khamisi said she felt ambushed and afraid for her children. The whole experience took away her sense of security.
“I had never felt like that, shock and emotion and scared like that before,” Khamisi said. “I just knew that that was unnatural and it was something that was dysfunctional.”
Khamisi turned to the Trauma Recovery Center in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood for help. The center helped her find a temporary place to stay and set her up with counseling.
The number of people dealing with trauma related to crime is rising, especially as gun violence increases in the city amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As crime increases, so does the need for trauma centers, according to Sheila Nared, director of the Trauma Recovery Center.
Nared said she's seen an increase in people looking for shelter and emotional and psychological support.
“People don’t know, the body keeps a score,” Nared said. “You have to know what’s going on and address those issues. Identifying them is more important than anything.”
The Trauma Recovery Center, located in the Seven Hills Neighborhood House, is one of only a handful of centers that received state funding in 2017 to provide services to victims of crime.
“Trauma has rose, and we need to come out of that building. We need more space,” Nared said.
The center is growing. It will soon relocate into its own space at the corner of Freeman Avenue and Findlay Street.
The first floor will include office space, and the second and third floors will include beds to temporarily house trauma victims.
“They need to be able to have somewhere directly that they can come and people are trained in trauma-informed care and on deck and ready to catch them in the moment,” Nared said.
The center received about $100,000 from the city last year to help cover the cost of renovations.
That money will go toward the office space, but the center is still searching for more funds to make the housing portion a reality.
“It’s just a lack of funding right now. We have half of it, and we appreciate the city. And we have lots of grants we’ve been writing in the meantime to make ends meet,” Nared said.
Nared said she’s hopeful the center will find the dollars because she believes the resource is too important not to fund.
Khamisi knows how much of a difference the trauma center makes in the community.
“It is very important because it’s like a big hug around you when you’re going through something like that. You don’t know who to go to or what to do in an experience like that. It is very necessary to have a place like this,” Khamisi said.
Anyone interested in the Trauma Recovery Center’s service can click here or call 513-407-5362. The center is located at 901 Findlay Street in Cincinnati.