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Deborah Hughes, CEO of Brookview House, speaks at an April 24 conference on addressing the needs of school age children experiencing homelessness. The event at Simmons College was co-sponsored by Brookview House and Simmons College School of Social Work.

Deborah Hughes, CEO of Brookview House, speaks at an April 24 conference on addressing the needs of school age children experiencing homelessness. The event at Simmons College was co-sponsored by Brookview House and Simmons College School of Social Work.

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Expert describes toll of family homelessness

Mental health, brain development suffer

Homelessness-related stress and trauma plays a role in poor maternal health and poor parenting, which then affects child development, said Carmela DeCandia, who is co-author of a recent report on family homelessness. Ninety-three percent of homeless mothers have a history of trauma. Thirty-six percent are suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder — triple the incidence of PTSD in the general population of women. These conditions are often factors in substance abuse and depression.