COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today, a bipartisan group of elected officials joined representatives from CVS Health® (NYSE: CVS), Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), Beacon 360 Management, and community leaders to announce the opening of Harriet’s Hope – a 52-unit, multifamily supportive housing community – empowering survivors of human trafficking. Named in honor of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who helped many escape slavery, Harriet’s Hope is a first-of-its-kind development for Columbus and among the nation’s first service-enriched housing communities exclusive to human trafficking survivors. Residents will live in a community with access to robust onsite case management and social services that address the unique needs of human trafficking survivors, while also encouraging rehabilitation and self-sufficiency. With construction now complete, residents will begin moving in December.
Harriet’s Hope was made possible through expansive public-private partnerships on the state and local level. Building the $15.6 million property was made possible through CVS Health’s $10.6 million investment, facilitated through the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH). Additional funders include Affordable Housing Trust of Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio Housing Finance Agency, City of Columbus, Park National Bank, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, the Ohio Legislature, Ohio Capital Impact Corporation and Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing.
Joining forces for survivors
Vulnerable individuals of all ages and backgrounds are exploited and forced into labor and involuntary sex work, and Ohio is no exception. In recent years, Ohio has bolstered its response to combat human trafficking through infrastructure development and multisystem approaches, such as the state’s Human Trafficking Initiative led by Attorney General Yost. Now open, Harriet’s Hope will help the state carryout its mission to “end labor and sex trafficking statewide,” by providing survivors a safe space for their healing and recovery journey.
“I’m grateful for the synergy between the public and private entities we have working on this project,” Attorney General Dave Yost said. “Without such partnerships, this kind of vital assistance would not be available. Collectively, our duty is to establish the groundwork for resources like Harriet’s Hope to serve as the on-ramp to the highway to hope.”
Supporting vulnerable Ohioans
Recognizing housing’s impact on community health outcomes, CVS Health invested $10.6 million to build Harriet’s Hope as the initiative’s sole equity funder. Harriet’s Hope is a further demonstration of the company’s commitment to address housing insecurities – and support Ohio human trafficking survivors.
“Whether forced into labor or sex work, human trafficking is detrimental to the health of an individual and larger community – making this both a health care and public health issue,” explains Latasha Brown, MPA, CVS Health’s anti-human trafficking administrator. “Between the supportive services we provide our Aetna-OhioRISE members who survived human trafficking to my work on Attorney General Yost’s Human Trafficking Commission, every day I see the myriad of physical and mental health challenges survivors endure. A survivor cannot improve their overall health and wellbeing without stable access to quality housing. For Harriet’s Hope residents, this haven will allow them to focus on their healing journey and position them for a bright next chapter.”
Health and healing
Complex challenges often arise when servicing the multifaceted needs of this vulnerable population. Columbus-based co-developer and nonprofit Beacon 360º Management initiated the program design and will be responsible for the management and coordination of supportive services provided at Harriet’s Hope.
“We’re grateful for the overwhelming support Harriet’s Hope has received by our local leaders, the business community, and CMHA alike,” shared Celia Kendall, CEO of Beacon 360° Management. “In alignment with Beacon 360° Management’s commitment to provide innovative ‘People First’ solutions to housing challenges, we collaborated with survivors to develop our supportive housing model and it was clear that housing and affordability were not enough to position survivors of such complex traumas for success. How fitting that Harriet’s Hope was constructed on the very site where human trafficking once took place will now be an instrumental solution to this issue.”
“Harriet’s Hope is just the latest example of CMHA being laser-focused on providing housing and meeting the specific needs of our neighbors in Columbus and throughout Franklin County,” said CMHA Board Commissioner, Stephen Daley. “Our goal is to ensure CMHA remains an innovative agent for change and continues to evolve to meet the region’s housing and service needs. We’re proud to be part of this collaborative effort with Beacon 360° Management to address the complicated challenges faced by survivors and vulnerable populations. Harriet’s Hope is a testament to our commitment to holistic solutions that make a meaningful impact on the lives of our community members.”
Services will be tailored to the unique needs of trafficking survivors, and supports each resident’s immediate and long-term goals – in addition to job-skills training and employment opportunities. This includes comprehensive, trauma-informed case management services provided by The Salvation Army, where professionals collaborate with residents to create crisis stabilization and safety plans.
Illicit drugs are often used on vulnerable individuals in the human trafficking recruitment process, to induce compliance, create dependency, punish and incapacitate an unwilling victim, or used to cope with the trauma of being trafficked. Additionally, nonprofit human services agency Alvis, Inc. will be administering recovery-specific services as needed, including recovery counseling and planning, alcohol and drug testing, and medication oversight.
Workforce development and employment opportunities will also be available through Columbus Works, a Columbus-based nonprofit focused on eliminating poverty through work force training, job placement, and long-term barrier removing wrap-around services. Peer support will be provided by Freedom a la Cart, a Central Ohio nonprofit catering company that empowers human trafficking survivors by providing job skills to foster self-sufficiency and stability. The organization’s staff will also provide Harriet’s Hope residents peer support.
About CVS Health
CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues — including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health — whether that’s managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system — and their personal health care — by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.