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The Value of Collaboration in Addressing Commercial Sexual Exploitation, from Prevention and Awareness to Supporting Healing and Everything in Between

From the Office of the Texas Governor | Greg Abbott | Child Sex Trafficking – Archived Webinars

Presented on January 24, 2023

Lubbock organizations One Voice Home, Open Door, and Voice of Hope as they discuss how they have partnered to elevate about Human Trafficking in the area and through this partnership are providing victim-centered, trauma-informed services to survivors.

In this video, you'll meet Open Door's Jaime Wheeler and Voice of Hope's Kristin Murray.

You can download the presentation here.

Find more from the Texas Office of the Attorney General here.

Transcript (raw, from YouTube)

We include transcripts so they can be searched easily.

as we as we begin the year for our webinar
series and so we will be having webinars throughout the
year to provide information that we believe will be helpful for you guys out
in the field who are service providers or people who are on the front lines doing the work whether it be law
enforcement prosecutors or the service providers like you'll hear from today or
community members who are looking to be more educated in this work so that you know how to
better recognize and identify those who may be experiencing exploitation and what you can do to kind of help us as we
all come together in Texas to fight this horrible um atrocity that is Among Us
um seeking to to harm our children and our young adults so uh today we really
wanted to kick off um our webinar series talking about collaboration
um we know that um in order to have the most impact in this work we have to collaborate and so
uh we tell that we preach it we talk about it all the time in the field into the
partners that we work with how can we collaborate better so today we're going to hear from some organizations that are
doing it really well in West Texas but before we do that I I do want to take a
moment and just introduce the team to those of you who may be on this call we've had some um
changes within our team and so we want to make sure that you guys know um how to connect with us and and who we
are within the region so I'm going to take a moment and just introduce
um the team that is here with us so as I said I'm Janet Casper I'm the administrator and I'm going to punt to
our associate administrator Cara can you take a moment introduce
yourself and then if you could Pont to an R.A and we'll just get through the rest of our team absolutely
um good morning I'm Cara Harrington I'm the associate administrator for our team and I come to us from background and
direct service and working in care coordination so so happy to be on the team and um I'll go to Veronica
good morning everyone I am Veronica Lowenberg the west Texas regional
advisor I'm located in El Paso super excited to be highlighting our West
Texas folks this morning thanks for joining us and I will punt to Jessica
Hess hi everybody I am Jessica Hess I am the
central Texas regional advisor I am here in Austin and I joined the team
um in early September late August I think
um yes it's good to be here with all of you and I will send it over to as
Christian here with us today um I don't so actually I'll put from
here Christian had something come up and so did George so our other two Regional advisors aren't able to be with us but
we do have um Jordan Jordan could you introduce yourself yes hi everybody my name is Jordan
jessic and I am the program coordinator for the um child sex trafficking team I have
been in this position um going on six years now um
so yeah um I think the only other person here with us right now is Caroline
Butler I'm the grant manager for the cstt team um I've been in this position for almost
a year and as a great manager for two years now great so thank you guys so if you have
information um or are requesting information from our team if there's anything that we can
help you with that is our team feel to reach out to us via email as you guys
have our email um I believe to at least Jordan's email she can direct it to the appropriate
person on our team um now I would love to invite Veronica
if you could come back and introduce us to our presenters and let's move forward with our present presentation
yes thank you so again thank you everyone for being here with us today we're excited to have some service
providers out of Lubbock here with us um we have Jamie wheeler from open door
and we have Kristen Murray from one voice home and I've been lucky enough to
be working with these gals for about almost four years now and I wanted them
to be able to highlight their partnership because I just really feel like they do a fabulous job in LA in the
Lubbock area in highlighting their partnership and working together to make sure that both
Youth and adults are provided with the attention recognition
um and help that they need and I think this partnership really grew out
of them working together and then organically
starting to realize that they needed more services in their community and so
they work together to develop those services and make sure that like I said
survivors are are helped so I'm going to turn it over to Kristen and Jamie and
let them talk a little bit about their organizations and then talk about their Partnerships so take it away gals
Jamie do you want to go first since you really kind of started off the trafficking services in Lubbock and
explain how we got to where we're at or uh sure
um yeah I don't know if I'd agree with that statement but I'll start Kristen so
um yeah we're really excited to be here so I'm I think we'll go in first and just talk a little bit about uh what
each of us do and like Kristen said how we started together and then after that
um I think what would be awesome if we just have some time of sharing kind of what we've learned working together of the challenges of working with people
the uh blessings of it and kind of hopefully give you guys some stuff that you can take back into your areas
um so yeah we're up here in West Texas in Lubbock and we got snow today I don't
know if anybody else on the call did but uh everything in the world shuts down here because no one knows how to drive
in the snow it's not bad at all but we're all shut down here um so the only good thing about that
today is it's a great day for a webinar because we don't have quite as much going on today so
um in lavik we live in a very conservative uh kind of area of Texas and so as a lot of you guys know the
topic of trafficking is not something that people really want to talk a lot about you know we're kind of known as
the city with a church on every corner so if you say there's trafficking going on which implies there's buyers here who
are those people we all go to church we all you know somebody said we're voted the friendliest city in Texas I've not
seen that poll but we still have the billboard so someone decided that put that up so from the very beginning it's been a
challenge here to work with other people mainly because a lot of people don't think it exists and so I think in the
early days um there were just several of us that started learning about trafficking
learning about some of these things were around those environments and um just started very organically talking
to people trying to host times where people can come and learn around the same time our city
uh identified a need as well and voice of Hope did too a voice of Hope was
known at that time as the Lubbock Rape Crisis Center and so they started seeing people in the hospital that they you
know there was just something more to the assaults that they were seeing and they didn't really have all the knowledge that they wanted um but said
we need to do something about this this is what we think we're seeing and so they began um what's called a sex trafficking
Allied Response Team here in Lubbock uh I can't remember if it started off in it
with a different name but that's kind of who we are now I'm kind of inviting the medical people
um other providers together to just honestly start learning together and so from that we started all
realizing we're seeing a lot of the same things um and so that's kind of where that really started at voice of Hope
um you know they have been around since 1975 doing really awesome work working
with people coming out of crisis and I think in 20 15 I don't know about you guys but the
years all run together um I was fortunate enough to be able to work at Open Door and also work with
voice of Hope and really came on specifically uh to try to develop a
trafficking Advocate kind of space and they said you know I think there's enough here that we can really do that
and so I was fortunate enough to come on with them and kind of help get that started and
um one of the neat things from that is that I'm not with voice of Hope anymore I'm full time with open door because
we've expanded some of our trafficking stuff I'll get into later but the awesome thing is that we're really able
to develop a lot of relationships during that time and again see you know yes we need the
crisis side of things but if we have nowhere to put anybody when we kind of help them get out of that situation or
you know a call comes in people just keep going right back to the situation because of course we all need to survive
um and so soon after the governor's office came and actually said hey we have a new Grant coming up that helps
provide housing and said you know hey Open Door you've been working trafficking you've been helping people
get into housing from experiencing homelessness so why don't you put that together and so the neat thing is we we
kind of had that open conversation with everybody right then you know it wasn't kind of a a sneaky we're going to go off
and do our own thing we all said yeah that needs to happen and voice of Hope said we want to stay in our lane and do
crisis work so why don't you guys do this and that's a little bit of kind of how our organizations got going
um and then later uh one voice home came along and said you know we really want to prioritize because the kids and so
where do we fit into this and I'm going to let Kristen kind of explain um voice of Hope a little bit more and
how one voice home came in and then I think maybe Kristen if we can go back if you want to spend a little bit more time
specifically about what voice of Hope does in one voice home and then I'll Circle back about what what we're doing
at Open Door sounds good I'm gonna bounce through slides guys so I'm gonna flip through
real quick and go to the ones about our services and then we'll show you some of the different things that we've done
so I'm Kristen Murray I'm the executive director of voice of Hope like Jamie said we were originally established in
1975 as the Lubbock crepe crisis center so for the Lubbock area and the surrounding counties we are the crisis
components um of this situation and so we have a 24-hour hotline the national number
forwards to our hotline if somebody calls and is identified in our service area we respond within 30 minutes of the
crisis call out so we're called out by emergency room by police officers clients can call us directly we offer
free counseling case management Community Education prevention so we kind of do all of the like work but we
have no housing component and have no intention of changing that
um like Jamie said we um we've been doing this for a long time we feel like we have a handle on this housing is not
our Niche um and so we were thrilled when we had one boy's home an open door that said
they wanted to do housing and we could partner with them to do referrals and anything we can to help make their
program a little stronger and so I think that has worked really well for us
because we haven't looked at this as a competition we're in this together and
if somebody's funding drops away like we saw after covid any
of our organizations um would gather together and go see City officials on behalf of the other one and
I think that's a big deal um because I don't think you see a lot of people willing to help fundraise or
talk to people on their behalf and I think that's one of the ways that makes us pretty unique
One Voice home originally started as um they were going to do a home for girls
between the ages of 12 and 17. um back in like Jamie said probably 2015.
everybody kind of thought the bigger the better and so everything was really kind of looked at on a children's home level
and so originally they had purchased an old um Boys Ranch that was out kind of in a
rural area about 30 miles outside of Lubbock but after that we've discovered that
this type of work is much better in smaller numbers you can't have a children's home setting with 60
trafficking survivors that are between the ages of 12 and 18 and not just have probably complete chaos and so we wanted
more hands-on experience for the people that they were working with and so we sold that
property I say we I just rolled off their board of directors so I've been very involved kind of in their startup
process but so they sold that property and um are doing some outpatient
services with youth and then we're they're also doing
um a housing program that's really designed to stair step somebody into a
program like open door and um so one boy's home has somebody in the house
with them 24 hours a day helping build those boundaries helping them cook dinner all of those things so um it's a
very supported living because we found that at 18 most of them are not ready to
live independently and really if you've just come out of a trafficking situation
even at 23 you probably aren't ready to live independently because you don't have some of those necessary life skills
and so they're standing in that Gap and they're also working now on a graduate house
that would stair step out of their in more intensive program into where they
just have a little bit of oversight but people start to you know see a little bit of their freedom and make more of
their decisions before they go into a program where they have complete control over their apartments and then are
offered a case management type situation because
voice of Hope changed their name and then Open Door started housing and then
one voice home came into play in the beginning we really probably confused our community quite a bit
um because they didn't understand who each of us were and how we were
different and so I know I've gotten calls that have managed to put a piece of all three of our names
in this conversation so you're never really sure who they're asking about and
so Jamie and Hillary and I got together and we made a very conscious effort to
communicate to our community and to do it in a similar way so we could start to
explain to them who we were and how we were different we still get some of that but the great part of us working
together and knowing each other so well is I know that if Jamie's out doing a
presentation to the community I understand what she's going to be teaching and I agree with what she's
going to be teaching so we don't have a rogue organization out there you know
sensationalizing what's going on doing kind of the Hollywood version any one of our three organizations are
going to do a very similar presentation and all of us know enough about each other's program that we can fill those
questions so when people are like well okay well if you do that then who's open door or who's One Voice home or
any of those things and so I like that we all have enough knowledge and comfort level with each
other that we're able to help kind of facilitate facilitate some of those things
I'll show you um this is one voice homes Journey program
and so they have the six components that they really focus on and they have stages that you can graduate from before
you graduate from the program and there's not a set time on how long that
has to take it's really designed for each person because everybody's Journey looks a little bit differently and some
people can start with section two they can start with section one and then work through them based on where they are
ready to kind of work on their Journey foreign
the open door slide if Jamie wants to talk a little bit about the services of their program
awesome thanks Kristen um so open door we originally actually
our name first was Carpenter's church and we ended up changing that so we originally started as
um honestly sitting across the table from people and that I think is made it
a lot easier for us in some ways to be a part of relationship because that's truly like how we started
um was that one of our friends went and started going to a soup kitchen and instead of being on the side of serving just set and ate with people and that's
where our community first started um and that's still a big part of who we are today is trying to do things
alongside people and not uh two people four people not with a giver receiver
mentality but more Community Based of how we do this together um and so and we believe that on every
level so with us as teammates that are working together with us working with survivors or anyone else we work
alongside uh with us with one voice home and with voice of Hope anybody that will
work with us relationship is a huge piece of that um and so you can see our mission statement there so we are a broader
organization than just the Survivor housing part but that's the main part that I'm involved in at this point
um part of the reason that we decided to do housing besides we were already doing housing helping people who are
chronically homeless to get off the streets in a housing is that whenever I was at voice of Hope and even at our I
was working at our community center open door we again constantly would have people come in who maybe they were right
ready for a change they were in crisis and we were helping them get all these different connecting checking
up on them but then we wouldn't have a safe place for them to go a lot of times whenever we would find a safe place for
somebody to go people were often not eligible people were sometimes too old
or Too Young if somebody was pregnant we often couldn't find them housing unless
it was at a regular Pregnancy Center which wasn't trauma informed and anytime
somebody would go there usually within about 48 Hours I'd be getting a call of come get this person
they punch somebody you know their PTSD was way too high to be in that kind of environment and we would also have
situations where we would find male survivors or transgender survivors and I'd call places and nobody would take
them and one of the other things that we found is that we would find survivors with their pets you know and they were
like I will not leave my pets because this pet has been the only thing keeping me alive and so through a lot of those
things um sorry one one group I forgot to mention often also survivors with
children people would say sorry we don't take children uh we won't do that and so during that time obviously I was
learning a lot about different things but I remember thinking at that time someday we're going to have housing that
was a long-term dream of ours and I want to make sure that the housing model we have allows that we can bring in like we
can find a way to bring in just about anybody because often that those group
of people are the most vulnerable because there are no places for them um and so to be able to do that though
you have to have a unique kind of Housing and so that's part of the reason why we landed with doing transitional
housing and Rapid re-housing because it allows us to not be in a shelter environment to be an individualized
housing um there still is a need for shelter we know that we work with people sometimes that you know we need to find a place
for them to excuse me kind of stabilize for 30 to 60 days but for us we really don't believe
people were meant to live in shelters people are meant to live in homes um because you're yourself at home you
create your space when you're in home and that's part of healing part of healing is learning yourself and
learning yourself without trauma learning yourself and your community and so for us we offer transitional housing
right now we have seven units of transitional housing it is at a single site but it's within the community so
it's normal kind of Apartments people wouldn't even know that we're there
um and part of the reason for having that distinguished from Rapid rehousing is Transitional offers a higher level of
community with people being there so we have like we've made um gardening beds
and kind of an area for the kids to play with so naturally people can come into contact with each other and start to
engage in community and connection with each other in a safe way and then we also now have rapid re-housing so we
recently received a grant from HUD um to be able to do this and so part of
it is HUD really likes rapid rehousing they're actually not a big fan of transitional and part of the reason for
that is they've seen a lot of people kind of stuck in this transitional shelter system and not actually moving
on to find their own housing and so we try to make sure that while we offer
both of those things the idea is not to get really stuck in transitional but kind of to use that as a jumping off
space to getting into rapid re-housing um so for those of you guys who don't
know much about rapid rehousing I didn't a lot before we got into it um the goal here is is kind of more of a
partnership so in transitional housing our units Open Door is actually on the lease and we do a participant agreement
with the Survivor and with their kids if they have children part of the reason for that is we have a
lot of survivors as you guys know who come in and do not have all their identification documents well no
landlord will rent to you if you don't have those things right or have significant criminal backgrounds you
know all these things that make it very hard and um give us a lot of barriers to housing so transition allows us to bring
people in while we're maybe working with them on some of those things to get them more housing ready rapid re-housing the
participants so the Survivor is the one actually on the lease uh they're the one you know selecting
the unit things like that now it is challenging because as you can imagine again not all landlords want to work
with people who have criminal backgrounds who don't have income coming in things like that so we have to do a
lot of work in the community to try to find those landlords to work with us um but the Survivor still gets to pick
their unit we try to pick something you know that's within a price range that's going to be achievable for them during the time in
the program and so they're on the lease and then Open Door is kind of here providing a rental subsidy and the cool
thing about it is that our goal with somebody like a good example would be maybe the first two or three months um
they only pay about 10 percent of their rent or for some people coming in with no income you know our goal is just to
help get them into mental health care and medical care and just stabilize them and so they may not start working until
months two or three so it allows us to again take a really individualized approach for each person and meet them
where they're at and that's just a part of our belief system but it's also what we see works for people in the long run
um it's a lot harder for us as the people kind of trying to work alongside people because we have less control in
that situation but what we've seen with people is that while the road is lots of ups and downs
um as they grow and as they catch on to these things they're really theirs and so they tend to be more long-lasting
um and so we might have somebody that the first three months or pay about 10 of their rent the next three months
they're paying 25 50 and so on so that way by the time that their time in the
program ends which people can be with us for up to 24 months um they've already been paying their
rent entirely on their own and we're just providing a lot of Supportive Services so
um we kind of use the image of training wheels we're kind of there with training wheels but this person is still deciding
where we're going um and whenever it's time for us to kind of step away we do that gradually so it's not just this intense kind of
falling off this Cliff not having resources um so the other really big keys to what
we offer is having those holistic support services so having honestly
anything and everything that we can provide in-house but also connecting people on the outside to whatever we can
um so case management peer support about half of our team our survivors themselves who offer a lot of really
awesome peer support connection um we we have therapy we also if people
don't want to use the therapist we provide then we of course connect them to outside people in the community again
it's really all based a lot on what that Survivor wants and feels comfortable with all right one neat thing about our
therapist right now is that we have three that each work part-time and that's something that we found we had a
therapist working full-time and was just about to burn out because of how intense the trauma is and so we kind of reworked
some of these jobs and we've found a sweet spot there so that's something to consider if you're finding a hard time
finding the right therapist you can stay a while maybe consider thinking outside the box and maybe
um you know for them they see other clients about half of their time and then work with us the other half of the time and it seems to keep them pretty
emotionally balanced and excited and passionate about what they're doing and so some of our therapy options we
connect people with equine play therapy trauma-informed yoga uh EMDR you know
all kinds of different therapy options that we have for people we have a lot of support groups throughout the week one
you know for learning a lot of those good life skills but also again for connection and sharing and finding that
belonging together and then we have have different things on site for people to participate in
some of the things right now of you know we'd only take people who are 18 and older for eligibility and we can again
take people who have children coming in we do not house couples it's a little
complicated housing couples for many reasons but also
um usually if somebody is in a couple relationship they have access to some other resources or at least have two
people who are able to work and things like that and so we do not house couples and so some of our biggest goals that we
kind of have for people coming in but again they really set their own goals and then we ask how we can help support
them in that um our one to kind of move out of the crisis space however that looks for them
um and that we're permanent housing focused because the reality I think hopefully we all know at this point is
we're not going to solve everybody's poverty we're not going to solve everyone's trauma we're not going to
solve a lot of these things that some people have been struggling with for 40 or 50 years of their life sometimes
um we're here to provide support and coping skills and belonging to help get that Journey started there's just no way
even for myself I can't solve all the things in my life in two years um and so we're very realistic about
that but we're trying to figure out what can we do in that time to help provide people with tools uh going out
so that they can stay housed because without housing you don't really have a firm foundation to build on anything
else you know it's pretty hard for me to make my therapy appointments if I don't even know where I'm going to sleep for
the day it's hard for me to have income increase so I don't need to go back to a pimp for my needs if I don't have a
consistent job I can't have a consistent job without an address you know there's just so many things that are tied to
housing and so we really try to move people in and then build around that
um the other thing of course is that people you know a lot of times will tell us you know there is something amazing
about just being able to lock a door you know being able to be behind a door that
you can actually physically and then emotionally start to feel safe again none of us can go anywhere without that
feeling of safety you know of in a control kind of in our own space so that's a little bit about what we do
um again we're really about collaborating um within our organization outside of
our organization relationship is a huge piece of that so I'm going to kick it back over to Kristen and
um Kristen if you want to maybe share some things that you've kind of learned about uh working together and all that
Veronica chime in yeah and then I'll jump in after you guys share a little bit great thanks Jamie I have a question
here for you Jamie as you're talking about the services that you provide what
if a parent has a child with a disability and severe mental health issues are you all able to provide extra
funding or care for that child
uh I'm gonna answer that question with a yes and no uh which is my famous answer
so we really tried to work together in the community to um to find the supports
for that child so we have had the situation happen um and and that's also Again part of the reason why we wanted to allow kids on
the program because we know so many things generationally um happen when somebody is experiencing
trafficking emotionally physically um but we have had some children who are
have a lot of high needs um either mental health which thankfully a lot of the support that I'm mentioning we also
provide for the children now whether or not their parent uh you know wants them to do that or not that still is up to
them but most of our kids on the program are an individualized therapy they're also in group therapy and it seems to be
working really really well and we have people that come to their school and support them and then we've also had
some kids like you mentioned with physical disabilities and things like that and
thankfully to this point we've been able to partner with people in the community to help provide those services and so
our main job is kind of being those Bridge Builders and connectors to make sure that they can have kind of what they need
there was a question Jamie about if you guys provided services to men or and women and I answered that in the chat
that um they do they'll take male survivors or female survivors they just won't take couples together
um for a variety of different reasons that she stated but um one of the reasons we love the program that Open
Door built was because they will take men or women and we all know how hard it is sometimes to find shelter for the
men's survivors and the kids piece so many of them aren't going to leave their
children to go into a program which as a mother I can completely understand
um and so being able to give them a safe place where they can have their family with them I think really is that an
important step to their healing Journey I do want to just add to that really quickly and because this has come up for
us but and we we accept survivors of any gender identity and that was also uh
several years ago when I tried to find housing for people that was a part of people not getting in places uh which
was really um challenging and really sad and so for us we accept people of any gender
identity and we've had people in the program who have um switched their gender identity back
and forth several times and one of the people I'm thinking of right now part of it had to do with their trauma and how
they viewed themselves and so whenever this person originally came in wanted to
be identified as she and so that's how we address that person and later I remember she came up to me at that time
and said hey I heard that you guys actually accept survivors of any gender identity is that true and I said well
yes you know like everybody's welcome and she said okay because I really feel more comfortable being a male but I was
afraid if I did that um and started presenting that way that I might be kicked out because of some
programs I've been around and which was really obviously heartbreaking for me to hear
um and that person ended up telling me you know for me when I think of being female I think of my trauma all my
trauma happened to me as a female and um and her level of trauma was so significant
um that she would come into counseling and just you know she'd finally start to
talk about something and it would be overwhelming so much so where she would shut down and just curl up on the floor
you know this kind of level of trauma and so um I remember that conversation because
one it really broke my heart but two um I was also so grateful that we had a
place that who you want to be who you are now today you know whatever that looks like like you're welcome and
you're safe here and after that conversation um at that time again she was identifying as she
um said she felt really safe then you know and then could explore and felt more comfortable working through some of
her trauma um so that's just one thing I would just encourage of people is you know we just don't know where people are and just
asking those questions of um how would you like me to address you and treat you
um and then trying to figure out how we can create those spaces and that again is a challenge in a shelter environment
you know of um it's hard to create a space for everybody whenever everybody is kind of
in one room together
kind of on the subject of community with this work we talk a lot about self-care
and secondary trauma and all of those things another key component into what I
feel like Jamie and Hillary and I have tried to build is if you're at the top of your organization you really can't
confide in your staff a whole lot when things happen just because of the Dynamics sometimes of that leadership
position but I can pick up the phone and call Jamie and ask her her opinion on a
situation I can pick up the phone and call Hillary um and have those conversations when
we're struggling with what we're seeing and what we're doing and we all certainly are vulnerable with our teams
and have open communication but sometimes when you're at the top of an organization it can be kind of lonely
because you have to be careful about what you do and don't share and so having that relationship with people in
other organizations and I know we all have it outside of Lubbock as well but having it here year to where we can meet
for lunch or have a cup of coffee is very helpful in in that process
we wanted to talk to you a little bit about um I mean so we've all worked together
for quite a while and it was really designed
to work together as these programs because we saw the gaps in the services um we still have major gaps in our area
for emergency placements anybody um we have a large women's shelter here
but it typically is pretty full because it also provides services to the rural
counties and we also know that a lot of times our clients aren't necessarily the easiest
to deal with when they're in crisis and so they have been asked to leave different shelters and so we have to
have shelters that are extremely trauma informed and know that this is just how
they're handling the situation and that we can work through it and so we have found those sometimes in
the smaller rural communities where they don't have quite as many people in the shelter
willing to help us when we're in a pinch but emergency housing is absolutely
still an issue that we deal with on a regular basis I don't remember or maybe you do
Veronica when did the oag roll out Blue Sand you may remember
I don't remember I don't either I believe I believe that was 20 20.
was it 20 20. so like right before everything shut down probably that would make sense yeah 2020 or 2021 one of
those two okay I think in 2020 Probably sounds pretty right so I happen to be on
a call um and they were talking about blue sand and wanting to do this project and they
had put some information together so I had gone to Hillary and Jamie and said hey I think this is a great opportunity
for the month of January which is already human trafficking awareness month for us to come together in a very
public way to remind the community that we worked together we work together well
we trust each other we aren't duplicating Services we're all providing
different services that are all needed and also promote you know this opportunity in the community for to get
our community members involved and so through that they um I think the team at
one voice came up with the joining voices that's our three Journeys one
destination so our thought process really was kind of like a lane on the
highway we're all going to the same place we're just in a different Lane doing it
um that way I mean you can switch lanes and you can refer to different Lanes but we all have very unique things that we
bring to the table and we try really hard to just stay in our lane and do our
lane really well and so that's kind of where we came up with
all of the things that we've really pushed like public facing so people understand a little bit more about all
three organizations and what we offer and why it's important in the community and I also think it's good to show
people that we play well with others um you know I mean we play in the
sandbox together we certainly I mean all fundraised to do all of all of those
things but at the end of the day I don't want open door to lose funding I
don't want one voice home to lose funding because that affects them that affects our survivors um when open door was in crisis mode and
possibility of having large funding cuts um I mean I approached Chad and Jamie
and said we will do whatever we can to help and I meant that wholeheartedly because the last thing we needed for
them to have to close and these survivors back on the street and so sometimes we have to look past
our organization and what's sitting right in front of us to see the bigger picture and I think all three of our
organizations do that pretty well
this is what we've done for the Blue Sand project so we did it the first year
um ordered little bags ordered a ton of blue sand made a mess in all of our offices as we figured out how to
fill these and then the next year United Supermarkets which is our big grocery
provider in this area wanted to partner with us and so they actually started
producing the packages for us so their team puts them together and then they put them in all of their gas stations in
the area for people to pick up and support us on the 26th some pour sand in the cracks
we've kept it on the 26th again just kind of thinking if we have it left over
year to year we aren't wasting resources we all know in non-profits that we can squeeze everything we can out of a penny
um and so we've kept it on the 26th and just moved to whatever day of the week that is that way we can use the same
promotional materials so there's no great you know plan behind that date it
just happened to be where we landed the first year and we've managed to keep it there since
and then we've got those um so as far as slides that's really all
we have but we just wanted to talk to you guys about how we work together
um and really just to remind everybody I mean none of us are perfect
um I tell my team all the time it's the only thing you can control is the job that you do
we are going to partner with other people and we're going to trust that they're doing what they believe is in
the best interest of those survivors um do Jamie and Hillary and I always agree
on everything probably not um but are we all professionals and
respectful of each other in the decision that was made by the other organization absolutely and when we go out into the
community I want the community to know that I'm their biggest fan and so we aren't
aren't out there bad-mouthing each other or telling people
um about the struggles that maybe we've had within the program because that isn't helpful to anybody but we've
all seen it with different organizations um we see it in different communities we certainly see it in our community we
just try really hard to make sure that our three organizations that are serving
a lot of the same clients because maybe they worked with us in crisis and we referred them to one of the programs
they work the program they graduate from the program and now they're back out in
an apartment and working and we can pick back up with peer support or counseling or checking in on them and so it's
important that we have that open communication and that we're able to help those clients efficiently and so
they know that we trust each other through the process foreign do we have any other questions
yes I have some questions for you so we're we are getting lots of questions on whether or not you all are available
to do training for others throughout the state whether it be in person or
virtually I would say that probably depends on
dog training they want but um once we get through Grant season I
certainly don't mind hopping on a zoom conversation to uh and Grant season is when when is
Grant season Kristen half the year
yeah I I think so I mean the only trainings that we ever do are all the things we've learned the hard way and we
hope you don't have to do that too yeah yeah so so what we'll do is you can see
the um contact information for our presenters right here and we will be sending out these slides after the
webinars so you have those content that contact information and can reach out and talk more with them about what types
of trainings you might want um we also have a question here from Landon Dickerson
hello from Bob's House of Hope the first safe house in the country for young men
18 and up who have been sex trafficked we love what y'all are doing and the opportunities for males you are creating
we have encountered challenges finding long-term options for adults with developmental disabilities who have been
trafficked do you all have any recommendations we are also seeing the need for services for indigenous persons
have y'all taken on providing services for you the unique needs of indigenous persons
um yeah so for us like I mentioned kind of everybody's welcome as long as we can
um meet the eligibility criteria uh then that's a little bit easier uh for us one
of the challenges in eligibility has shifted a little bit so when we first started and our primary funding was with
Boca we could really kind of take survivors um of any age even if they weren't
currently fleeing but that they did need housing um now that we have had as our primary
funder and Voca as a secondary funder um we do we can only take survivors that
are really kind of fleeing or really need somewhere to go um so but the good thing about that is that it
is eligible let's say somebody's in an emergency program with you guys um they are still eligible to come in
with us if whenever they came to you they were trying to leave their trafficking or domestic violence situation so we're again kind of a group
that we try to screen people in and not screen people out so if we can figure out any possible way to to work with
somebody we will um so yes we we do work with anybody um I cannot say when it comes to culture
um we try to do our best is what I can say I can't say you know we have someone of this culture on our
um staff you know for every single every single person we might encounter but it is something that's important to us and
so we ask a lot of questions at the beginning and if there's something that we're not able in-house to provide then
we work very hard on connecting people so for example we have a survivor in right now who's deaf and in her whole
application process we were just 100 honest that we don't uh we have a couple
of us um that know some sign language but I wouldn't say we're fluent in it but we're just very honest with her through
that process to say this is what we have to offer we this is you know these are some groups we can connect with this is
what we want to offer but we want to be honest with you that you know that's not our primary service and so and she said
you kind of I don't care she's just happy to be here um and so we do uh work with some other
community organizations that provide interpreters and things like that um so that's kind of what we can do but
like I said our big thing is really being honest about what we are able to provide and again when we're not able to
to provide it uh we never tell anybody just no we don't do this we say but this
group does you know or if I don't know it I will help you find it you know our answer is not just a no
and same thing for us and specifically to the indigenous kind of population it's not a very large population in West
Texas we have recently worked with a couple of survivors that um do belong to
reservations and so we worked with the tribe because they have very different kind of rules and laws when it comes to
custody and some different things and they're governing supersedes some of the other governing
and so it's really like Jamie said just a matter of showing up and being willing to learn none of us have any
um you know knowledge on every aspect of every different culture but if we show
up and we're willing to embrace it and figure it out most people are gracious
enough to give us the space to do so thanks
um we have a question about case management how is that handled when a Survivor transitions from one
organization or program to the next do they same stay with the same case
manager throughout so why don't you answer that for some of
the people you places and and okay
um so we were there a crisis response so if they're in crisis or if they've been in
Lubbock County we go out and do programs in the jail um they are provided an advocate and
that Advocate is able and willing to stay with them as long as that Survivor wants us to we know with housing a lot
of times that they provide their own services and we want them to connect to those services and so we try very hard
to do a warm friendly handoff so they feel comfortable with all of us that way we can all talk
um but at the end of the day it's up to the Survivor how much Jamie and I can communicate about their services if they
sign something that says we can communicate and collaborate then we do if they don't
um then some of them work services in both programs and we know it and that's just it is what it is but we try really
hard to make sure that they're getting the support that they need and with a crisis hotline they can
always call US 24 hours a day if they need to get a hold of somebody just to talk through a problem but we really
encourage them once they get into a housing program that we want them to connect with that program because they
need to feel like they belong there and they have the community there so they're getting the support that they need
yeah I would just Echo that to say um we try to do those handoffs but I will
say like I I kind of made a list actually kind of lessons of working together after we do uh some questions
I'd love to kind of share but one of the things I would say is a challenge is that this is a challenge and I think you
have to be very honest about that and I think that's also where you need to train your team on understanding
triangulation on doing those things because people people learn those things
right so we're working with people that have learned one culture which is survival culture at the end of
the day which is a blind loyalty culture so if you are tied together a lot of times it's not in a healthy way it's
gang culture um you know it's there's a lot of different things there it's competition and so
um we're up against that you know whenever we start to work with people people are not going to just change that overnight and so what we've found is
that we actually it makes us have to work harder because we because other people can't change that immediately so
we have to work harder on our communication we have to work harder on like Kristen said trusting at least our
intentions right and also um Going Back to Basics and I know this
sounds crazy but I feel like sometimes some of the the passive aggressiveness
I've seen with Lubbock organizations or it really goes back to basics like if you hear a rumor and you're not sure if
it's true and you need to know pick up the phone and call that person you know um obviously some things are
confidential you can't always ask but you know if I hear something like oh Kristen is out there down on you guys
I'm gonna call Kristen and I'm you know gonna ask her like hey like I'm not assuming this is true but I just want to
touch base real quick is there something that I said or did that might have bothered you and then let's talk about
it move on you know uh we're all adults and we also can't
um try to create a good and new environment for survivors that we're not creating ourselves
um and so I do think this has been like I said one of the greatest challenges to navigate and it is complicated because
of confidentiality um but we again like I had a situation literally yesterday where somebody's mad
at me for something calls voice of hope you know whatever and and our our communication what we're always saying
is you know I may not know exactly what happened in that situation um but I do know that those guys really
care about you you know and maybe we can come up with a solution together like without doing all of this crazy making
um because we're just expending energy that's not helpful for anybody and uh it's really not even helping you to meet
the need that you have you know so what can we do uh to kind of not not have to
do all that and I think um the negativity I was
certain clients that maybe like were both working to you almost become like
your kids if they want to run to Mom because Dad said no and so it's important that you know we have a united
front that they know we're all here for them but then we point out the positives of all of the negatives that they see
you know so maybe they don't feel connected to a particular case manager but they are in safe housing they have
food they have you know all of these things that are being provided for them and try to change the narrative and so
when we do have people who call us that are in programs and they're upset about something and all of a sudden you know
the sky is falling we try really hard to point out all of the good things and
remind them and try to get them back on a positive path so they can get over
you know that instant anger and I think Crystal might have mentioned this but you know for me I think okay
voice of hope is doing crisis services so I'm not in competition with them it's not about that of like hey if if you're
in our program you need to work our case management it's more of a practical thing of if Kristen's group a voice of
Hope is managing all the crisis and all of our 21 households and housing
why you know uh that's gonna exhaust them that's gonna burn them out that doesn't make a lot of sense and so we of
course know like we want to have a there's a transition time you don't want to just drop somebody
um and so one of the things we recently created was kind of advocate support agreement of
um being very clear about okay if you you have a prior Advocate not just voice of Hope we've had people from other
states even you know come in with other Advocates to let them know we we want to work with you we want to all be on the
same team I promise you that is Our intention um but to kind of avert some of the
things that we've had to deal with why don't we be very clear on what support you're going to offer at this phase how
you're going to offer it and let's make sure the Survivor knows we're all here on your team you know and honestly
having very honest conversations you know at this point I just tell people hey I know triangulation is a survival
thing this is what I mean by this and this and I just want you to know that uh that might happen and we'll work through
it but if we can try to prevent that in any way let's do that because this is some of the things that can happen that
actually end up kind of making it harder for you you know and and just putting that on the table
um and then like Kristen said you know you also have to honor confidentiality so sometimes people will say you know
sign an Roi with voice of Hope and then halfway through they're like I don't want to do that anymore and I'm like okay like I have to honor that but then
I also have to kind of remember okay I know what they provide I know what we provide and so there shouldn't really be
a lot of me moving outside of that because I I know what we're here to do
um and at the end of the day our our biggest thing is the the biggest question we all have to ask ourselves is
who is this for you know this everything we do should be for the Survivor
um and if that's the case then I don't care if Christian connects with somebody better or
um Hillary does or so you know as long as that person is feeling a sense of connection belonging safety they're on
the journey they're getting what they need um is it still hurtful and difficult sometimes absolutely we're humans too
um but at the end of the day it's really about them it's not about my name is tied to you doing well or
um anything other than like how can we support you and your journey
thanks for that Jamie I love that you guys Focus so much on
the confidentiality piece and making sure that the survivors that you're
working with are comfortable with you sharing information I think sometimes that get that gets lost and we tend to
you know we just figure we're all working with the same clients so we can share information and that's not the
case we really have to make sure that we have their permission to share their life
um we have some more questions here is one about how is the process of getting the community behind you in the
beginning I'm from a rural conservative area of Texas and like you said in the
beginning the mindsets are human trafficking doesn't happen here in our hometown we're in the
beginning phase of care coordination so we're really focusing on Community Education First but it seems like the
community at large isn't interested our law enforcement and medical professions
understand the importance of this but not many others I realize this takes time but I wanted to get your input
since you've overcome this hurdle well I think we're still overcoming the
hurdle I don't know that the hurdle ever goes away but um I think part of that is
any of our organizations we're willing to talk to anybody um you can invite me to talk to two
people you can invite me to talk to 200 because you've got to plant that seed and then let that person plant a
different seed and so it is a lot about just over and over again talking about
it but showing a narrative of what it looks like in your area I know um I mean
Lubbock has three colleges we're upwards of 250 000 people now
um so still I mean small in the sense of we're not Houston we're not Dallas we're not Fort Worth but we're fairly large
um and we see all the time on there was somebody following me in Walmart there was a sticky note on my
windshield there was you know all of the different things and myths that we see on social media so I
think the biggest thing is is showing them a picture of what this looks like showing them
that it's your kid communicating with a 40 year old on a chat in fortnite
because they don't realize that they're a 40 year old in a state you know two
states away and so you've really got to break it down into what that audience is
going to understand and what they're going to be able to listen to would be my suggestion what do you think Jamie
yeah I would say education is a big piece and then I also think just to be old school it's all relationship
so I mean you got to we can post on social media and all of that and that does connect with a certain part of the
population but uh we've got to be willing to go and call people and just say can I come by and have coffee uh I
know you don't know me but I want to just tell you a little bit about what we're doing you know um really getting out there and reconnecting and that has
obviously been a challenge with covid but I know for us that's one of our big kind of goals this year is just getting
out and just talking with people again um and I think that you know this might
not feel connected hopefully you can follow me here but you know one of the signs I say of a good leader is not that
that leader is like the best and they they you know can show everybody that
they can do it all and they're you know they're worthy of being the boss but a good leader is somebody who can on their
team call out the good and those people help cheerlead them get them involved and so I think in a similar way that's
really what we're here to do in the community is that we've got to go and we have got to find people and help
them see that they actually have a part in this um not just hey let me tell you how amazing what organization is I don't
know why you wouldn't want to be a part of it but hey you business person this is something that you have to offer hey
like you don't think that you have to offer anything you're you know you're working at a school guess what this is
the part you can play you know Finding ways that people can practically visually see their part in this I think
is really important and the only way again to really do that is to build those relationships um that take time uh
like we've mentioned even working together you know if you're in a big city or wherever you are
um go and take the time to get to know the other people at organizations because I promise you you will get even
connecting people to resources you're going to get a lot more done when you have like a person to call at that place
than if you're just calling and asking for help um and right or wrong that's just the
way it is everything is built on relationship and we have to be connected to each other and even know you know
what everybody is out there doing yeah and along those lines
um Jamie we have someone who's asking you all to give some ideas on how a
volunteer organization such as the general Federation of women's clubs of
Texas can do to help relationship
you know I think uh it's we don't like to do it partially because it's slow right we want to do
things that are quick that we can see an immediate result and and I get it because there's a lot of people hurting
and I want to get out there quick too but if you don't lay some of those foundations then you can't offer people
long-term things we've all seen groups who pop up and then they're gone in six months right so like long-term change
really takes a long time uh individually as a community you know to a culture change in trafficking and so if you're a
volunteer group I always this to people uh and I would think Kristen would say the same thing but you
know you're excited you're passionate before you just start doing something go and sit and talk to the people that are
already doing something and see what they're doing see first can you partner with what they're doing to support them
because again if it's about the Survivor it really doesn't matter that much if I go start my own 501c3 whatever or if I
partner with you right now there's some organizations that maybe are not not healthy maybe you're not out there doing the right thing that you probably don't
need to partner with but at least give it a shot first and I know that's what we did at Open Door we said that's
actually how I kind of found voice of Hope in some other groups as I said okay I'm learning I'm gonna go see who I can
learn from first and then we all ended up saying wow none of us know anything there's no one to learn from so let's
learn together and now what makes sense in the Avenues that you're already in of what part you're going to play you know
um so I would recommend take that time to do that and then partner with people and then you might find a niche that goes hey this is a gap that you guys can
fill and if you can commit to that for the long run then learn about that and and do that
I think it's important also make sure you're honest with your community if somebody's asking you something that you
don't know tell them that you don't know that you'll research it you'll call other people and you'll get back to them
I think a lot of people don't feel comfortable in admitting maybe they
don't know the answer to that but if you lead people to thinking that you know it all and then they catch you in a lie
you're going to lose a lot of that trust that before you ever had it and I mean we've seen organizations who
tell people oh well call me anytime if you have a problem or if you have a question if you tell people that you
better be ready to answer your phone um because it might be six months down the line but if they call you at 10
o'clock at night it's because they're got a crisis and they have a question and so you've got to be really careful
too that you don't make promises that you can't stand behind so um just be very careful with knowing
what you're capable of providing yeah I think again making sure that you're staying in your lane
super important so on that whole um partnership deal you the three of you
have partnered together and especially with this blue sand project and so we have a question about
when you get sponsorships like for the blue Sam project how do you handle the
funds for that specific project does one organization take on the funding and
allocate it toward the project or is it shared between the three
so with the blue sand in particular United Supermarkets has had actually
just taken on the cost of it and so they buy all the products and the labels and they put them together for us and put
our logos on it so they aren't giving us money and then we're producing it but
typically we do a couple of like Community type events during January so we've partnered with Vera Bradley a few
times and if we do that we have to sign up with one organization and then when the proceeds from that weekend come in
then that organization sends the other two a check for their portion
I think that again goes back to trusting each other um you know I'm not worried that Kristen's trying to put some extra
pennies in her pocket for that weekend um you know we've known each other long enough that again we're you know we're
advocating for each other and you know I think I can say even if if we were doing that at a time when one of us
was really in need of something we'd probably just say hey you guys just take that right now you know to use it for what you need to
um and sometimes we will reach out you know we at Survivor housing our funding has uh been Insanity the last three
years we've been on a roller coaster um for you know mainly for the coven and you know Kristen reach out you know if
there's something that we can fill a gap in if it's you know hey we got a bunch of extra journals that were given to us
do you guys need that you know yeah we do you know most time we do so a lot of times we'll reach out to each other to
kind of figure out like is there something you know that we can help each other with
and again I think it goes back to do I see this as like mine
um you know because if it's mine then I'm gonna hold tightly and I don't want to share it you know this is for me and
mine and my organization and my survivors uh they are not ours they're
human beings that we are lucky enough to be on the journey with and so I I want
what is best for them even if it is not coming from me
so we have an interesting question about using motels as housing
um currently are there motels used as housing covet has left many of Texas
motels in financial difficulty many hotels are in a position where resident
room rental or residence to purchase to own a room might be an option
um in Lubbock or other centers could that Lubbock or other centers could explore this rent to own would then
provide the basics of a to address and home setting for some who have never had much
different for those recovering this would also allow a sense of being in ownership thus
removed there's stigma of trauma many motels are merely managed and are operated by large chains or their
mortgages held by corporate entities a room to own would improve local housing
somewhat perhaps as this concept been explored and what are the costs of Rapid
housing today I was gonna make Kristen tackle that
because she used to be in the hotel industry but yeah I did in my previous life I spent 20
years in hospitality and have managed some of the bigger hotels in the Lubbock area before I jumped to the world of
non-profits um and so I would say it probably depends on the area there were certainly
um the hospitality industry was hurt um tremendously by covid
um in Lubbock we're kind of known as The Hub City so people come here for medical they come here for Education they come
here to shop um so our hotel industry is not suffering anymore and while it dipped
during covid um it did not dip to the levels that some of our partner cities saw so some
of your large cities saw occupancy rates in single digits which in 20 years I
have never seen Lubbock certainly hurt but it didn't hurt that badly
um and most hotels anymore are chain based and so
it's a franchise where you have Mr Smith and Mr Jones going together and have
some money and they pay holiday in to have the holiday in sign and so each
hotel has rules that they have to follow for their corporate standards and then roles they have to follow for their
owners which is also why the soap project if you guys have heard about the soap project with hotels
never really worked in our area because they have to have very specific things and so like a rent to own and a hotel
wouldn't wouldn't work because the innkeepers laws are different for a hotel than they
are necessarily for somebody who's in an apartment um and so in an apartment that's your
home and for somebody to evict you there's a process in a hotel the hotel
owns that room and you rent it for a night and I have the right to refuse service to anyone
and so we use hotels certainly in an emergency situation
um to get people safe so we can get them into a program because again Lubbock has
very few emergency beds but with our trafficking survivors hotels are very
triggering so you've got to be very careful with the different brands and where they were exploited and so it's a
conversation that we've had with survivors that we've needed to put in a hotel about where we could put them that
would be least likely to trigger um you know a bad memory of their trauma
because unfortunately it does happen in hotels um and that's a whole other training and
conversation for another day but um so you just have to be very cautious of it but I'm not sure that a rent to
own unit in a hotel setting would really work but maybe in an apartment complex
if we start to see those get over built and maybe come up I could see something like that maybe possibly working
foreign thanks Kristen
um Jamie we have a question for you asking how hard was it to get the rapid
re-housing program set up uh well it's been a 15-year Journey
uh yeah no nothing is easy in this world so uh if you're newly coming into the
world of trafficking and everything nothing is ever easy on any level
um but I will say that there are a lot of neat uh grants out there right now
um HUD offered it was kind of like a um sorry I'm trying to find the official
language so I can sound like I know what I'm talking about but I don't remember what it is but pretty much a new Grant this year that said we're gonna throw
extra money out there for domestic violence survivors which trafficking can fit within that category
um and so that's how we were able to apply for it um really you you have to have a good grant writer and my husband actually is
our grant writer at Open Door he works in another department but works there um and so really you've just got to get
a good grant writer you need to know kind of what your program is going to be process stuff like that
um but I mean we were awarded and there was still money on the table from what I saw so I I would hope that more people
would go out there and do that um I will be very honest that transitional uh when it's out in the
community and Rapid re-housing is incredibly difficult kind of housing I
also think though again you need every piece right you need a place to bring people in crisis so I'm not saying we
don't need those other things but when I'm talking about long-term change that people really get out of everything here
and can build on something you have to have this kind of housing you really do we just see so few people that are able
to work a shelter program and then go out and make it and again that's part of
the reason why we decided to do this because we'd see people do so good in that high structure setting all day and
then come out to just the real world and a lot of times they would go back to their trafficker because it was just way
too big of a jump and so for us this creates um we call almost like practice living
you know like you are living in your own home you're learning how to take care of a house as you guys know trafficking
situations are so varied so some people were living in a house you know in a
mansion with a pimp right who had very strict rules on doing the dishes and cleaning and all these things that it
takes to organize a house and some of their trauma they have to work through in a house is learning that they can go
to the bathroom without asking somebody you know learning that if they leave additional counter they're not going to be beat you know so that takes time to
unpack but then there's other people who maybe were trafficked as children all growing up on and off the streets in and
out of hotels that have no idea how to really take care of a home
um and so this part of housing it really is important because you're still there to support them and learning all of
those tools and skills of staying housed of knowing how to talk to your landlord if you're upset about something without
calling and cussing them out you know and not getting evicted all of those like really practical skills that a lot
of people haven't had the opportunity to learn um and so I genuinely hope more people will apply for a lot of this funding
um from what I can see excuse me HUD seems to be pretty solid that
um they're offering the same things every year and so if you get into it you know they also want to see that you're
in this for the long run so and I would only recommend for you to get into some of this stuff for the long run because
it takes you several years honestly to learn the culture to kind of get
somewhat of a clue of what you're doing um to get established enough in the community again to work with landlords
work with all these people and so it's not something to be taken lightly and just be like well we'll try it for a
year and see how it goes but there's a lot out there if people will just look
for it you know and be willing to write those grants and um get into some of those spaces
so I'm gonna just interject myself Veronica um because I I do have some comments on what you're saying Jamie
thank you so much for bringing up the rapid rehousing component and um you
know I'm assuming maybe you guys are eligible to do to provide permanent supportive housing vouchers as well and
are you guys doing the actual coordinated housing assessments is that what you guys have been trained to do
and then um you guys can make that determination as to what they're eligible for whether
it be permanent Supportive Housing or rapid rehousing so yeah I would
encourage you guys listening on the call to check out some of the HUD uh requests
for applications um that is a different funding source than as you've heard before many of you
guys are used to working with Boca funding which is great funding but HUD is really prioritizing some of the the
population that you serve and those are really great programs and I I would
expect that you guys would need to look for your local Housing Authority or look
for your local Coalition your Continuum of Care that HUD has appointed in your community and apply through them
um for that HUD funding and if you don't know what that is just uh just Google it
look it up in your community for the area that you're in because HUD does provide a point of contact for each
Community across the state across the country that manages kind of their
Continuum of Care and the grants go through them and they work closely with them to award those grants and um
yeah they they really are moving that way because what we're seeing is more success with that right housing first uh
as opposed to um what a lot of times people like to see stability first and if you can get
housed first with the wrap around services that many of you guys that Kirsten and Jamie and all of you guys
provide people can can become stable but they need a house to be stable first and
and that Transitional Living can can be helpful but it's not permanent right and so
um that that's almost for traumatizing in itself right when you are no you're
in a program that you know that it's somewhat conditional that you can't be there the long term
um there's a lot of fear that comes with that there's a lot of rules that come with that not to say that there aren't
roles and permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid rehousing because you do have to follow you know what the landlord
requires and things such as that but there's much more freedom and and I just applaud you Jamie I I applaud you
greatly for stepping into that resource exploring it learning it and doing
whatever you got to do to provide that to the survivors in your community so um thank you for bringing that to the
table today that that's great information so we have just a couple more questions
um one was do each of you happen to know how the numbers of
victims who are served by your organizations off the top of your head
off the top of my head I only know this because I literally had to pull this yesterday but um from so open door we've
been working with survivors a long time but the housing piece we've only been doing since the spring of 2019 and as of
right now we've worked with 84 adults and 42 kids which was kind of funny it's
split like that and again not kids on their own but kids who've come in with parents or we've had a couple survivors
that had their children while in our program and so that's kind of where we are I don't have numbers off the top of
my head of like Outreach or just people we see but as for people actually staying and working through the program
that's our numbers right now um and I'm still working on 2022 but for
2022 um my initial reports are that we saw 69
new clients of sex trafficking so that's not including anybody that we've continued through the years to work with
those were just new clients that came through our program for our service or case management or those things
and that includes adults and youth yes thanks
okay and then we had one more question about whether you all were part of
operation blue rain we were not sorry at least I wasn't I
read it in the newspaper like everybody else did um and we typically have a really good
relationship with law enforcement um with certain parts of law enforcement more so than others so we have been
included on a lot of that kind of stuff as an advocate but that particular op I
don't know if DPS brought in their own victim Advocates and that's why they didn't reach out
um but we did not participate on that particular one
or I would just say the same thing at one we we don't do that anymore because voice of hope is doing that but um in
the past we have had people call sometimes and see if we have openings for housing but I think this goes back to one of our very original questions of
you know how did we convince everyone that we're wonderful and they all want to work with us uh we're still working on that and we also go on a lot of Ebbs
and flows so we've had times when the police are calling us every time they run across anybody you know who could be
a victim anything and again a lot of it has to do with who personally is working
in those systems at the time and who you have relationships with um and it seems to ebb and flow quite a
bit and so we kind of just hang in there keep trying to work with people but um it is difficult because there are a
lot of rules with law enforcement of them not being able to talk with each other between agencies and you guys
probably know this in your communities and the hard thing again is that it's actually a lot worse for the Survivor
because if they could collaborate a little bit more they'd probably link things a lot
quicker we'd be able to provide a lot more support but unfortunately we don't always see that happening
and on sometimes and we've been invited to participate sometimes on operations
that we have not necessarily gone on because the intent with some operations is just
arrests and I don't want us sitting on the other side of a table when they're
just arresting people and we know that's what's going to happen because then the victims are going to see us as part of
the system that's arresting them without question the officers know we're always
here so even on those operations where that's the intent if they run across
somebody that they do feel is a victim they'll call our Advocates and of course we're gonna go because we're going to want to build that relationship with
them but I don't want to build a relationship that makes them feel like we're part of the system that just keeps
putting them behind bars so you have to have a good enough relationship with the people you're working with to say hey I
don't really think that this operation is the table you want us sitting at but this one that you do we'd really love to
be sitting at thanks and our last question is do you
have your own Court Advocates who help with orders of protection
um we do not um have anybody on staff we refer to there's two different legal aid
societies there's Northwest Texas and then Legal Aid Society of Lubbock so we'll refer our clients to them and then
the District Attorney's Office also can do um quite a bit under their umbrella but we don't have anybody within our
organization that does those things okay but you're able to refer clients to to
who yes who does thanks to your wonderful Partnerships in Lubbock we will try to find somebody to
refer anything that's I mean what we tell people is even if you called us and you don't qualify for our services if
you need something and we know who provides it why wouldn't we give that to you we're here to help brother you know
we can help you or I send you to somebody else who can you know
okay well thank you Kristen and Jamie and everyone um this was great information and again
we love the partnership and the collaboration that you all have in Lubbock and continue to work to build
that and I think you've inspired a lot of people on this call to do the same and they may be reaching out to you for
guidance and how to do that since you've more or less figured it out and continue
to figure it out um and so we're going to give you a few minutes back on your day y'all that is
going to conclude our webinar today again thank you and hopefully we'll see
you again soon you all everybody have a great day



This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original online location.


PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.



This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original online location.


PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials online course is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.