ODMHSAS receives grant to provide trauma-informed services to human trafficking victims

TULSA, Okla. — The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) received a three-year federal grant to provide safe housing assistance and mental health support for young victims of human sex trafficking.

The $600,000 grant will initiate the RISE Above Project (RAP), which will provide physical and psychological safety through “supportive transitional housing and short term housing services,” according to a statement from ODMHSAS. RAP will also provide an array of “wrap-around support services.”

RAP’s lead parter, Restoring Identities after Sexual Exploitation (RISE), is a private non-profit that provides long term residence where girls can receive individualized services and mentoring to overcome trauma and become independent adults.

RISE is the only provider of housing services that exclusively focuses on young human trafficking victims in Oklahoma, according to ODMHSAS. Other partners working with ODMHSAS are the Oklahoma Coalition Against Human Trafficking, The Red Cord, Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and ODMHSAS’ network of mental healthcare workers.

Partners will serve on an advisory council and as referring agencies. Many are experts in educating on human trafficking and have offered training support.

“This RISE Above Project will address some of the gaps in housing and support services that exist for these vulnerable young Oklahomans,” said Slatton-Hodges. “Safe, stable housing is a crucial component of their recovery, as is addressing the impact of trauma on mental health,” explained Carrie Slatton-Hodges, ODMHSAS commissioner.

The project will offer access to transitional housing and short-term rental assistance in 75 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. At least 75 people will be served over the three-year lifespan of the grant, but Slatton-Hodges explained that ODMHSAS anticipates serving even more.