Source Ministries plans a transitional home for women leaving prostitution, with a mission that focuses on the importance of a strong support system for a full recovery. Source is close to its goal of raising $42,000 for a down payment on a house just a block away from their base on Stevens Avenue South in Minneapolis. This new investment will become the Annex Transitional Home, providing free community housing and a mentorship life skill program designed for a population of women who are often overlooked.
Along with places like Breaking Free, the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, and Ascension Place, the Annex Home will offer post-treatment recovery programs, but will be one of the few transitional homes in the state that focuses primarily on women who are victims of the sex industry.
Peter Wohler, the founder of Source Ministries, said, “Transitional homes are sober homes for those that are able to stay sober with minimal oversight and who partake in a voluntary mentorship life skills program.” Because the Annex will be a place for women who have already completed treatment, the home is not required to have a license like other more intensive recovery programs. Though many transitional homes in Minnesota offer mentorship programs like these, the Annex Home will be one of the first that reaches out solely to women being rescued from the sex trade.
“It’s very hard to transition into complete independence,” said Trisha Cummins Kauffman, Executive Director of the East Metro Women’s Council in White Bear Lake. Though only about ten percent of the women who work with the East Metro Women’s Council have a history of prostitution, the Council offers many life skill programs such as job and tenant training, parenting curriculum, and support groups, as well as programs for children. “These women need positive coping skills rather than just using survival skills that helped them to survive on the street.”
The Annex Home will combine similar recovery models with a mentorship program that will allow tenants to live alongside others who will be a support system for the women. This nurturing phase of recovery that the Annex Home will offer “allows them to connect with role models as they continue to detox from the past and learn essential life skills through formal training, and informally by being part of the community of role models,” Wohler said. The Home will consist of three apartments: two for “nurturers or mentors,” either volunteers or on staff from Source, and the other for the women in recovery.
This community of role models will also help fund the Annex once the property is purchased. The plan calls for these role models to live in the same house as the women in recovery and to pay rent, which will pay the cost of the house and allow the women in recovery to live rent-free.
Source Ministries on Stevens Avenue is also home to the Fallout Arts Initiative, which is an art co-op that reaches out to homeless and underprivileged youth through creative programs and service initiatives. The lower level of the Annex will house eight artists’ studios, with rent also helping to pay for the house.
The purchase itself is contingent on volunteer donations, which can be made on the Annex website. The total cost for the purchase and renovation of the home is $210,000, which includes the $42,000 down payment. Source is $7000 short of that goal, which needs to be made by November 16.
Wohler believes that the services provided at the Annex Home will be different from other recovery programs at treatment facilities because it focuses on the needs of women after they overcome addiction, when they need support and life skill training from their immediate community to be able to avoid relapse.