The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (Cast) was awarded $3.54 million from the City of Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) to purchase additional housing for survivors of human trafficking.
“We are fortunate to have a leader on human trafficking like CAST in our city, where we are no strangers to the horrors of human trafficking,” said Los Angeles City Council President, Nury Martinez. “Protecting women and children from abuse has been one of my top priorities and I am so proud to provide CAST with this funding because this organization is changing lives in our communities,” remarked Los Angeles City Council President, Nury Martinez.
This funding has come at a time when the need for safe housing has been particularly urgent for human trafficking survivors. During COVID-19, the amount of survivors seeking shelter with Cast has been nearly a third higher than normal. “100% of survivors who called our 24-hour emergency hotline during the pandemic were homeless. They were escaping both the traffickers and the pandemic,” said Rebecca Amado-Sprigg, Cast’s Associate Director of Equitable Housing.
Since the pandemic began, Cast has seen a 185% increase in urgent trafficking cases from the same time last year. As Cast moved swiftly to adapt its comprehensive programs, one program that could not be virtual was shelter.
Taking precaution even before LA’s Safer at Home order was declared, Cast began moving survivors out of its shelter and into private hotel rooms in order to reduce their exposure to the virus. This ensured that 100% of trafficking survivors who came to Cast had access to safe housing and comprehensive care.
“Never would I have imagined that we would operate our shelter for over a year from a hotel. The pandemic forced us to act fast and reinvent best practices to keep our staff and survivors safe. Thanks to our partnership with the City of Los Angeles, this new shelter gives survivors the opportunity to see past the pandemic and into their futures. It’s transformative,” said Kay Buck, Cast CEO.
Cast will be opening the doors to its new emergency shelter in August. By combining safe housing with trauma-informed services, Cast is ending the cycle of violence and homelesness, and ensuring trafficking survivors have every opportunity to lead independent and fulfilling lives.“We are proud partners to Cast because they have an excellent track record in providing shelter services to survivors of human trafficking. Cast designs shelters that feel like a home where one belongs,” says Abigail Marquez, General Manager of the Los Angeles Community Investment for Families Department.