Eden House seeks to create systemic change for survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation through prevention education, legislative advocacy, long-term housing and comprehensive recovery services.
Since 2012, they have directly served 65 survivors and assisted more than 350 with resources and referrals. While no two stories are the same, most Eden House clients have experienced some form of child abuse, homelessness, poverty, and drug addiction.
They arrive at Eden House from prison, rehabilitation facilities, shelters, directly from the streets, or through referrals from law-enforcement and service providers. Most have been victimized by the system, misidentified as criminals, and often blamed for what has happened to them.
Eden House responds by providing up to eight survivors a safe place to dream and overcome their pasts while developing substantive skills to move forward and become self-sufficient, flourishing members of society.
The program is based on the Benedictine Living-in-Community Model, in which the newest member of the community is always the most nurtured.
This model seeks to reassure each new resident that they have found a place of safety, support, and mentorship with “family” who have faced similar struggles. Their approach to recovery builds on the principles of love, community, grace, gratitude, acceptance, freedom, forgiveness, respect, and empowerment. It promotes self-determination, goal-setting, mental and physical health, and career readiness.
As the only facility of its kind in the area, Eden House has been challenged to grow its capacity to meet the demand for housing and support. In response, they will open a second home and double residential capacity from eight to 16 women in 2021.
Yet, an even greater need still exists for the Greater New Orleans community: emergency placement for exploited women in crisis. Eden House receives almost 100 requests per year for immediate assistance and safe shelter that they are unable to accommodate. Due to the current lack of emergency referral and placement options, recovered victims are more likely to be incarcerated or return to exploitation.
Through strategic funding from The Jensen Project, Eden House will open and operate an emergency shelter that provides temporary housing and stabilization services for 10 survivors up to 30 days, offering a safe place to stay with access to a team of licensed clinical and programmatic staff who provide crisis counseling, safety planning, therapeutic support, consultation, medical care, case management, legal assistance, and resource referrals as they navigate next steps together.
The shelter will also offer case management, counseling and support groups to women who are not requesting shelter but still seeking pathways out of the commercial sex industry or continued support in their trauma recovery.
The Jensen Project is grateful for the opportunity and proud to be a critical support to Eden House as they close the gap to services for victims of trafficking and exploitation in the Greater New Orleans area.
A yearly grant program, funding up to $2 Million to advance economic empowerment and housing opportunities for agencies who serve adult female survivors of human trafficking.