In the excitement of expanding the Safe Shelter Collaborative, the story of how we arrived at the launch date often gets missed in all of the hubbub.
Not this time! Let’s change that and take a moment to share the process and the people behind the new Florida hub.
This group of 15 agencies across Florida help survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault access services, programs, and shelter. These agencies not only provide services to survivors, they also direct their attention to advocacy on the legislative level to enact laws that support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable. Many of the anti-trafficking agencies in this new Florida hub work at the grassroots level, out in the field rescuing survivors, doing the demanding and determined work to bring survivors to safety and to the first steps of a new journey.
For all of these agencies, finding shelter has meant hours of phone calls—a herculean commitment—which often means hours away from the trauma-informed work that they do each day. These agencies in Florida were committed to changing that scenario and determined to generate stronger ties to agencies across the state and bring greater awareness to programs beyond an agency’s region. The Safe Shelter Collaborative was the right program to make that happen.
This launch has been over a year in the making, and we’ve worked alongside this group of agencies to support their efforts as they band together to make finding shelter faster in the state of Florida. They’ve sat in on legislative meetings, advocated for bills, and outreached to agencies and shelters to build a strong presence for the Safe Shelter Collaborative to knit together these impressive agencies and speed up the provision of shelter while bringing awareness to programs across the state.
A critical piece of the process was the creation of a steering committee to manage and connect the work happening in the north, the south, and central Florida. The steering committee can harness and amplify the strengths of the regions so they can operate as a unit, benefiting from their shared connections and reach.
Congratulations, agencies and staff! We are so proud of your work in Florida and are so pleased to continue learning from the new Florida hub of the Safe Shelter Collaborative!