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Nonprofit provides housing services for sex trafficking survivors

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(KWWL) - Local nonprofit, Friends Of The Family, rolled out new programs in 2021, for survivors of sex trafficking and domestic violence.

The programs focus on assistance services for housing.

Home Free:

  • This Department of Justice funded program is for survivors of sex or labor trafficking who need housing assistance
  • This program provides up to 24 months of rapid re-housing assistance such as rental, utility, and deposit assistance, or cover the cost of relocation
  • Home Free helps 10 to 12 households at a time
  • Started March 1, 2021
  • Grant: $460,000 over three years

Safely Home

  • HUD Continuum of Care Grant funded, for survivors of domestic violence
  • Program provides services for 10 transition or "sheltering" households to find a permanent residence
  • Provides assistance to 16 households currently residing in a permanent household
  • Started Jan. 1, 2021
  • Grant: $410,000 a year

Executive Director, Ben Brustkern, says both programs are intended to start a new future.

"In some cases, some of these programs are designed for 24 months with rental assistance. We really want to get people out in a 9 to 12 month window if possible, because it's all about helping that next person," Brustkern said.

Home Free and Safely Home case managers also help clients with needed counseling services.

"Their goal is to really connect the participants with other resources in the community, if someone needs mental health counseling we can help them there, if someone needs substance abuse we can help them there," Brustkern said.

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Vinny Lowerre

Producer & Multimedia Journalist

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