HOME: A SAFE PLACE TO GROW AND HEAL￼￼
In 2016, HRC commissioned a Need & Demand study that emphasized the growing need for a housing program, such as the one we are launching November 2019. This study reported that “the current housing market, shelter system, and nature of transitional housing in Saskatchewan’s urban centers do not fully accommodate women and girls who are at-risk or victims of the crime. Efforts are necessary to create more housing initiatives that are fully inclusive to the needs of victims in order to support healthy choices and fulfilling lives.” (p4, Need and Demand Assessment).
Furthermore, the recently released report, “Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls” identified Saskatoon as a major hub in the sex trafficking loop across Western Canada, thus increasing the need for services within Saskatchewan.
Hope Restored Canada is launching this Saskatoon-based housing project with a desire to provide solutions for victims of sex exploitation and sex trafficking. The number of victims is growing. Statistics Canada indicate that in 2009, there were less than 50 incidents of sexual exploitation and trafficking reported, whereas in 2016, 340 incidents were reported, and surely the actual rate is astronomically higher then reported. This June, (2019) a woman accused of charges related to human trafficking appeared in a Saskatoon court. She is alleged to have trafficked three women, one from Moose Jaw and two from Quebec. This situation will not go away. Through this housing project, survivors will have an opportunity to learn new skills, and explore ways in which they can develop a new and positive life while pursuing their own holistic healing. By working on their own recovery, each participant will be better suited to contribute to their community, leading to more whole and healthy communities for us all. Not only does supporting the restoration of survivors through housing not only improves the well-being of our communities, but is also much more cost-effective then ongoing emergency supports like short-term shelters, emergency health care, and soup kitchens.
In other housing-based programs for survivors of exploitation, there has been a success rate of over 70%, meaning that participants have escaped and stayed away from sexual exploitation and solicitation, are drug & alcohol free, live crime-free lifestyles, maintains school and/or employment, live independently and pay personal bills in a timely manner, are emotionally stable, and when applicable, parent adequately. Other similar housing-based programs have found that 9/10 women are homeless upon intake, meaning that a safe and stable home is tremendously impactful in offering a setting for women to begin their healing journey. Having the stability of a small group of support workers and house-mates in a housing program offers much-needed consistency, normalcy, and opportunities for trusting relationships that stands in stark-contrast to the revolving door of social workers, law enforcement, and medical personnel in more emergency-based and short-term responses.
Because of compounding and complex factors like poverty and being exploited during childhood, many individuals have become involved and stuck in the sex trade to meet their basic needs, like housing, which is called “survival sex”. HRC recognizes that for survivors of exploitation to be able to fully engage in their healing and restoration, basic needs like housing being met are a crucial first step.
HRC is grateful for the ability to open a needed residential-based recovery program from women who have been sexually exploited or trafficking. If you are compelled by the importance of housing for these women, will you partner with us in the final stages of preparation as we anticipate welcoming the first participants?
We are looking for both start-up and ongoing financial support to “stock the cupboards” and fund programs such as nutrition and culinary skills, laundry and hygiene, art therapy, job readiness & skills training, and many other programs to support their healing and thriving. Donations can be completed via cheque or at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/hope-restored-canada/ . We are also looking for a donated vehicle that is newer than 10 years old in good working condition, please get in touch with us if your or someone in your community can help us in this way!