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Trauma Recovery Center helping Cleveland violent crime victims

Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 18:25:02-05

A variety of barriers are keeping violent crime victims in Cleveland from the resources they need to recover but a new program is helping the city's most vulnerable tackle life after trauma.

Macker Billups Sr., is much more than a statistic. He is a fighter. The 43-year old was shot in the leg during a robbery attempt.

"He shot and I fell on the ground," said Billups. “I went from a wheelchair to crutches to a cane."

Billups was left to face life on the street after rehab, said Brenda Glass, the director of Trauma Recovery Center at Circle Health Services.

A single phone call kept that from happening.

"I want to make certain that the person that calls will get the most welcoming, most inviting individual that I know of and that's me," said Glass.

Her first-hand experience over the years has revealed victim of crime advocacy fails to reach people of color.

"Violence has definitely knocked on my door multiple times," she said.

"Criminal records was a barrier, not trusting the establishment is a barrier, warrants for their arrest is a barrier," said Glass.

Billups past criminal record kept him from receiving much needed emotional and financial support from traditional agencies.

"They were just left to fend for themselves after being shot, stabbed or beat up," said Glass.

Oftentimes these social workers can find themselves in the middle of some dangerous situations.

We're not disclosing where this work happens. It’s kept confidential to protect the victims and those on the front line providing the emotional support.

"Danger is out there and most of the people come to us is in danger of their lives," said Glass.

But for Glass, the risk is worth it.

"This is not just an agency for me, this is life for me. This is my life work," she said.

Billups told News 5 the Trauma Recovery Center helped him find that hope during his darkest days.

"I have faith in people because there's still a lot of good people out there willing to help," said Billups.

With the services offered by the Trauma Recovery Center, Billups is getting on-going counseling and received housing.

"We're now affiliated with the Centers for Families and Children, so that expanded our ability to help people," said Glass.

The Centers for Families and Children provides violent crime survivors with help getting continuing education and workforce development skills.

In just the first few months of operation, the Trauma Recovery Center at Circle Health Services has taken more than 300 calls from survivors of violent crimes.

You can reach the center at 216-644-5847.

"If you are a survivor, definitely give them a call, said Billups."