Survivor Ventures awarded nearly $500,000
to Provide Housing to Victims of Human Trafficking
in Hampton Roads.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 10, 2020
Survivor Ventures awarded nearly $500,000 to Provide Housing to Victims of Human Trafficking in Hampton Roads.
Norfolk, VA: Survivor Ventures (SV) was awarded a $498,546 federal grant, to be distributed over (3) years, from the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime to provide housing opportunities for trafficking
survivors in Hampton Roads.
SV was one of 73 organizations in 34 states receiving funds under this new OVC funding opportunity. This grant will provide funds for the existing SV Housing Stability Program (HSP) to 42 victims of human trafficking and their children in Hampton Roads so that they can work toward the future they envision. HSP is designed to provide individuals and families with stability and support to gradually and successfully transition into maintaining a tenant-rented permanent housing unit while receiving accompanying supportive services. It allows individuals time to work toward stability, education and employment, while continuing to heal from the traumatic experience of human trafficking. This program has also become a critical component for SV’s Survivor to Entrepreneurs (S2E) participants and their children who may not have any options when exiting existing shelters, programming and jail. According to Survivor Ventures Founder and CEO, Tiffany McGee “The first step to economic empowerment is four walls and a roof.”
Annually, this program will provide 14 tenant-leased units, spread throughout Hampton Roads, for 14 victims of human trafficking and their dependents. SV pays the full rent for program participants at the beginning of the assistance period and then gradually reduces assistance as the program participant obtains income through employment and/or benefits (e.g. Social Security Disability (SSDI) or food stamps). SV rental assistance follows a 12-month declining subsidy schedule with defined but flexible quarterly thresholds. According to Sentoria Harold, LCSW, “Our clients are thankful for the subsidized rental assistance. It allows them to gradually transition into independent living with a built in safety net.”
SV currently manages a $900,000 OVC Field Generated Innovations in Human Trafficking grant to support SV’s S2E program, which creates pathways to meaningful employment for survivors of trafficking in Hampton Roads through subsidized wages, job coaching, entrepreneurial mentorship and specialized skills training.
According to McGee, “OVC’s recent funding opportunities and awards are moving the needle on survivor recovery. No longer are we stuck at clothes, feed, shelter models of care that do little to affect individualized vulnerabilities that led to trafficking in the first place”.
Virginia ranks 16th in the US for human trafficking cases reported by state. Many human trafficking victims identified in Hampton Roads have extensive criminal records which present barriers to housing and employment. Virginia is one of only six states in the nation that has not enacted criminal record relief legislation for trafficking survivors. As a result, victims of human trafficking may have a heightened vulnerability to re-victimization as many lose or cannot gain employment or safe and affordable housing due to their past criminal convictions.
According to McGee, “Hard work and dedication to one’s recovery is the most important ingredient to a trafficking survivor’s rehabilitation. But there are systemic and systematic barriers that actually increase a trafficking victim’s vulnerability after rescue and escape. That’s where we come in. Our number one goal is to prevent re-trafficking.”
To learn more about Survivor Venture’s Housing Stability Program, click here.
"Hard work and dedication to one’s recovery is the most important ingredient to a trafficking survivor’s rehabilitation. But there are systemic and systematic barriers that actually increase a trafficking victim’s vulnerability after rescue and escape. That’s where we come in. Our number one goal is to prevent re-trafficking.”
Partners for the grant include:
Greg Garrett Reality
Southeast Virginia Homeless Coalition
Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters
Sheriff Baron’s Office
Virginia Beach Justice Initiative
Regent University Law School
the Retail Alliance
and small businesses and community minded landlords throughout Hampton Roads
"The first step to economic empowerment is four walls and a roof."
About Survivor Ventures:
Established in 2018, Survivor Ventures is a local non-profit serving human trafficking survivors throughout Hampton Roads. Services include housing stability services, wage subsidies, on-site job coaching, entrepreneurial mentorship and training in business operations. Through the local community and strategic partnerships with business, incubators and co working spaces including the Percolator, Retail Alliance, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, among others, economic empowerment is within reach.