"AFTER 7 YEARS WORKING ABROAD... IT WAS TIME FOR US TO SEE AND SERVE SURVIVORS RIGHT HERE AT HOME"
s she sat across the table from a friend who had endured so much trauma, she heard, "housing. housing. housing. and support for adult survivors. That is the need."
Red Oak's US Director, Haley, looked around the city she grew up in-- a city that was beautiful and fun but also the backdrop for abuse, exploitation and trafficking... and she knew she needed to learn.
After spending 7 years working abroad to serve survivors, it was time for Red Oak to look around to see and serve survivors right here at home.
We needed to learn more about what the issue of exploitation looked like in Texas.
To learn from other organizations that have gone before and were already putting in the hard work to care for women and families.
And most importantly, to learn from those who have been exploited... to hear and see things that they have conquered and the things that would be helpful to THEM.
It started with one voice from a friend, and then echoed throughout many agencies and providers that Haley spoke with: "HOME." When the basic need of housing isn't met, breaking the cycle of vulnerability that leads to exploitation and abuse is nearly impossible.
This catapulted Haley into a phase of engagement in the Austin housing arena that she never could have imagined. Stepping in, she joined hands with our partners, The Key2Free, to walk alongside the first three residents in a transitional housing program
It was a fast, furious, messy, and beautiful year. We celebrated holidays, sobriety, birthdays, and driver's licenses. We mourned losses, upsets and walked through suffering with the women. We transitioned two women out of the program and into their next season of healing, and continued to persevere with one family who remained.
Freedom, hope, and restoration to survivors all over the world is the heart of Red Oak. Austin, Texas is a part of that heart. And we are so grateful to be providing housing and holistic care, collaborating with community partners, refusing to sit in hopelessness, and learning from and with these incredible survivors here in Texas.
Watch the video below for an overview of our Austin transitional housing program: