Currently, the organization can house 18 women at its rural Cass County campus. The tiny cottages will provide an additional 17 beds.
The group says this expansion makes REHOPE the largest residential housing facility for human trafficking survivors in the Midwest.
“If you’re a victim, you don’t have to remain a victim. You can have a place. That’s what we do,” said Dr. Rodney Hammer, REHOPE’s founder and president.
Hammer says even with REHOPE’s expansion, there is a giant need for more beds and safe houses to serve trafficking victims across the country. Almost every day, REHOPE turns away a survivor asking for help.
“It is horrible, to be honest. You know they’re in a bad position, but when you don’t have a bed, there’s nothing you can do," explained Donna Davis, REHOPE’s program director. "You can try and help them find somewhere else, but the reality is there are not enough beds."
Survivors stay at REHOPE for free. In addition to housing, the nonprofit provides wrap-around services like trauma-informed counseling, job training, schooling, and therapeutic classes through arts, gardening and other crafts.
Women in the program also operate a cafe in Greenwood, Missouri.
The new tiny cottage village will serve as transitional housing. Survivors will pay a small rent to help them get accustomed to independent living outside the facility. Being on REHOPE’s campus will ensure the women have access to the support they need before living on their own.
REHOPE plans to open its tiny cottages by the beginning of 2024.
“I think it is a great idea. I know there are a lot of people out there who need help, and opening up a place like this is definitely a great start,” said one of REHOPE’s clients, who requested anonymity.
She’s been with REHOPE for two years and is working on furthering her education and finding a job.
REHOPE runs a separate campus for children victims of human trafficking.
The organization accepts donations all year round to fund its programs and expansion plans. Information about donating is at REHOPE.org.
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