Post by Katie Patterson
Awaken is opening the first restorative home in Northern Nevada that will help women who have been exploited for commercial sex heal from, process, and overcome the industry’s negative and traumatic effects. At Awaken’s 2017 banquet, Melissa Holland, co-founder of Awaken, addressed the desperate need of a housing option for women coming out of the life. A generous couple in attendance at the banquet heard the call, believed in the need, and gave Awaken just that: A house!
Why is the need for restorative housing so great? Awaken’s first-hand experience, backed by various studies, revealed that transitional housing is among the top needs for survivors; yet, state-by-state, across the nation, there are fewer than 40 specialized programs for these women. There are transitional housing options, but not ones that specialize in CSE. The need for specialized care is so significant because the treatment of a battered woman is not going to be the same needed for a woman who has been sexually abused and exploited since she was 11. Soon, Northern Nevada will be one of the few communities to offer a house of healing.
“We want to give women the skills they need, educational experience, and therapeutic components to make it in the next phase of life,” Jen Robinson, co-founder of Awaken, said. “It is a definite need.” The alternative is out of state housing or straight to the streets survival.
The house will be a rent-free sanctuary for up to five girls, all who are out of the life, 30 days sober, and at least 18 years old. Ground rules and details are still being worked out, but there will be house initiatives to help women heal and gain independence. There will be: life skills and recreation groups, assigned chores, individual and group therapy, family meals, grocery store runs, education on volunteer and job opportunities, curfew, and up to 24 months of time to help these women process, heal, and grow.
From the vision of Awaken to the amazing generosity of the homeowners to the local support of Reno’s community, this home is being built with love, intentionality and hope.
Along with the homeowners’ extreme generosity, the general contractor, interior decorator, landscape architect, and many Awaken supporters have banded together to donate time, talents, materials, and resources. If you are interested in donating to this project, please go to www.awakenreno.org/donate. For our house registry, just click here. For all other inquiries about donations or volunteer opportunities, please reach out to [email protected].