The SA Program Model — Refuge

“I had been running for so long that when my feet touched the ground of the front line house, I knew I was home.”  ~ S, (Participant)  

The SA Program Model offers a long-term recovery program (3 to 7 years) for young women (16 to 29 years [age exceptions occur]) and their children who have been sexually exploited and/or trafficked, that includes increased levels of independence factored into each program phase.

1st Stage — Front Line Housing

Young women start by exiting sexual exploitation and move into front-line housing. In this supportive context participants develop basic living skills. This unique house encourages independent living in a roommate environment. Each participant has their own bedroom and can come and go from the house freely, while respecting house rules and curfews. A volunteer house director lives in the home and provides supervision and direction, as the home is intended to be a place of healing for those committed to recovery. The volunteer house director position is a vocational calling. Such position is critical to the overall impact of the program as it speaks a message of love to the young women that someone is willing to share their lives with them on a voluntary basis. This phase of programming lasts up to one year.

2nd Stage — Transitional Housing

The objective of this level of housing is to increase participants’ responsibility and freedom within a monitored environment. There is a Housing Support Worker on site, whose job is to ensure the overall safety and security of the home and to offer problem-solving assistance as needed. Participants at this level no longer require a curfew or approved overnights as they are now capable of self-regulation. Their responsibility will increase in that they will organize and facilitate their own house meetings for problem- solving and chore rotation, and they will each take turns managing the monthly housing budget to purchase house supplies.

This level of housing is particularly useful for participants as it gives them support while they transition into independent living, either in Phase III housing or in their own apartment.

3rd Stage - Independent Living

The objective of the Independent Housing structure is that participants either move into Phase III housing or move into an apartment in the community at large once they have reached all the markers to ensure a successful transition to independent living.

The markers that indicate a participant is ready for independent living include the following:

  • Participants demonstrate solid conflict management skills
  • Participants have a minimum of 1 year consecutive sobriety from drugs/alcohol
  • Participants have disengaged from all identified unhealthy relationships (i.e with ex-boyfriends, old street friends, etc.)
  • Participants demonstrate a consistent ability to budget and save 10% of their funds
  • Participants have demonstrated an openness to new ideas and a willingness to receive direction
  • Participants have begun to build a new group of friends in the community (i.e. through A.A., mom and tot groups, etc.)

Unique Home Environment

The SA Program Model provides a home-like environment where live-in volunteers share their lives with program participants as if they were their own family members. This vocational position makes a huge statement to program participants: those who live with them choose to do so without pay, just because they love to spend their lives with them. This is much more meaningful and effective than having staff that go off-shift, leaving the participant behind for the day. This is the added touch that makes the SA Program Model a place where lives are healed.