Our grace house residential program is an irreplaceable part of our mission to help survivors rebuild their lives. It provides a safe place for our residents to stay so that shelter is not an immediate need, which allows them to focus on their healing and gaining independence. Many may not realize that shelter is at the center of most survivors’ concerns and is often the reason why they enter exploitation in the first place.
Survivors of exploitation and human trafficking face homelessness for a variety of reasons:
They may be escaping an abusive homelife and have no safe space to turn to, so they rely on other abusers for shelter who then exploit them. Choosing between the lesser of two evils puts them in a vulnerable position.
Traffickers often take advantage of mothers who have lost custody of their children and provide the pseudo-solution that exploitation will help them afford housing for them and ultimately for their children. Once they have exploited these mothers, they may threaten to report them to CPS if they try to leave him, making this temporary “solution” become a long-term problem.
Survivors who have their housing needs exploited by sex buyers or traffickers may be held captive with the threat that if they leave, the buyer will report them to the police.
Charges accrued as a result of exploitation may make it difficult for survivors to even apply for legitimate housing, let alone find work in order to afford it.
The need for housing often puts survivors in a seemingly endless cycle of going to the extreme to gain housing, but instead of finding shelter, they become exploited. In order to leave exploitation, they need a safe place to stay but often have few options for shelter outside of housing provided by their abusers.
Though a safe home is key to a survivor’s healing, providing shelter alone will not bring complete healing to them. We use Grace House to give the women we serve an example of how a functional living environment can work. We foster community and fellowship within the household, expose them to mentors and peer mentors, encourage them in all their steps to gain independence, and provide them with an array of support services to aid in their healing. At the end of the day, they have their housing needs met for up to two years, but at Grace House, shelter does not come without support and guidance.
Our team at AJP is constantly working to find solutions for all concerns that survivors face. Thank you for continuing to support us in meeting their needs with action.
written by Amanda Moon Ellevis