SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – An organization that helps survivors of human trafficking will soon be able to better help survivors and their families. Call to Freedom offers several services, including housing.
Thursday a ground breaking was held at the Empower Campus for a new housing complex for Call to Freedom. The actual location of the new complex is confidential to protect the safety of those the organization helps.
“We are breaking ground on a new beginning for our Marissa’s Housing Project, and we are excited to expand so that we can house more survivors of human trafficking,” executive director Call to Freedom, Becky Rasmussen said.
The new housing expansion will be a 12 unit apartment complex. It’s expected to be completed in spring of 2022.
“Right now we have a wonderful apartment complex that has seven studio apartments and unfortunately due to the size we’re unable to reunite survivors with their families, so building a larger complex that has larger bedrooms will allow them to reunite with their children,” co chair Marissa’s Housing Project Campaign, board member Call to Freedom, Kristen Thorkelson said.
Today’s groundbreaking included a variety of speakers, including a survivor.
“On July 25, 2020, I was given the opportunity to move into Marissa’s House, that day I will never forget the feeling of overwhelming joy, to not only have a place of my own to call home, but the support of Call to Freedom to make sure I was successful this time,” Tiffany said.
There are many other survivors who will benefit when this project is complete.
“Just last week we had 12 new referrals and so this is going to be a huge need for Sioux Falls, fortunately we have a place like Call to Freedom where survivors feel comfortable coming forward,” Thorkelson said.
“It means that we can help more individuals out of trafficking but it also means we are able to provide them with greater services and more space to keep their families together,” Rasmussen said.
Later this year, a national organization, 8 Days of Hope is partnering with Call to Freedom to help build the housing project. Rasmussen says they will bring in 50 to 60 professional contractors to build for free.