A special thank you to our 2019 Grant Partner, Friends of the Family, for writing this guest blog and telling us about their work.

Friends of the Family provides safe and confidential services to families and individuals experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and homelessness through advocacy, housing assistance, and crisis services. Through community engagement and prevention education, we seek a future free of violence and homelessness.

With the Iowa Women’s Foundation support, Friends of the Family was able to continue and expand its services to survivors of violent crime. These funds supported the hiring of a part-time Human Trafficking Specialist to serve Linn County. The specialist has provided advocacy services to labor and sex trafficking survivors, educated the community on how to spot and report suspected human trafficking, and collaborated with partners to increase supports and services for survivors.

Because of these funds, our specialist was able to provide human trafficking survivors with personal and legal advocacy, safety planning, financial assistance, information and referrals, transportation, mental health counseling, relocation assistance, and more. Without these services, survivors would often be referred to homeless shelters that aren’t suited to their safety needs. Without these services, survivors may also end up in other systems such as mental health facilities, emergency rooms, or jails.

Survivors deserve to live a life free from trafficking and abuse, and to be supported by trauma-informed service providers.