OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will devote a three-year federal grant to providing safe housing and metal health support to young sex trafficking victims.
The $600,000 grant will fund the RISE Above Project (RAP).
RAP will provide victims “physical and psychological safety through supportive transitional housing and short-term housing assistance, and linkage to an array of wrap-around support services.”
Restoring Identities after Sexual Exploitation (RISE) – a nonprofit that provides girls long-term residence, comprehensive, individualized services and mentoring to permanently escape the sex trade world and become independent, responsible adults – is the project’s lead partner, according to an Oklahoma Mental Health & Substance Abuse news release.
“This RISE Above Project will address some of the gaps in housing and support services that exist for these vulnerable young Oklahomans,” said Carrie Slatton-Hodges, ODMHSAS commissioner. “Safe, stable housing is a crucial component of their recovery, as is addressing the impact of trauma on mental health.”
RISE is the only housing services provider that exclusively focuses on young human trafficking victims in Oklahoma.
Other partners include the Oklahoma Coalition Against Human Trafficking, The Red Cord, Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and ODMHSAS’ community mental health center network, which provides trauma-informed services.
The project will be designed to help victims improve their social and emotional well-being by connecting them to safe, stable housing and a wide variety of support services.
“Other goals are to help young sex trafficking victims find or strengthen existing connections and supports to lead healthy, successful lives in the community; increase self-sufficiency through assistance with employment skills; and increase collaboration and provide training for all partners and stakeholders to identify and work with victims through a trauma-informed approach and coordinated referral system,” the news release states.
The project will provide transitional housing access and short-term rental assistance in 75 Oklahoma counties. At least 75 individuals will be served during the grant’s three-year lifespan.
“But we anticipate serving more,” Slatton-Hodges said.
Visit www.odmhsas.org for more information about ODMHSAS services