Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced a $500,000 grant to the YWCA, which the organization will use to help build a residential facility specific to youth (age 13-18) who have been victims of sex trafficking. The 7,200 square foot facility will have eight bedrooms.
“Strengthening our local nonprofit sector to better serve our residents is a critical role of county government,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “I’m grateful that the YWCA continues to address the most severe needs of women and children in Anne Arundel County. This new facility will save lives.”
The funding for the grant came through County general funds. The project also received $1.35M from the State. Sen. Pam Beidle (D-32) and Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D-30) joined County Executive Pittman at the YWCA offices in Arnold, MD, for the announcement.
“It has been a pleasure to partner with the YWCA over the years, and we are thrilled to support this safe house that will serve victims of human trafficking throughout the entire State of Maryland,” said Senator Pam Beidle.
The new facility will be the only dedicated safe house in the state for minors who are victims of human trafficking. It will feature a 24-hour call center, case managers, residential advisers, counseling, and educational opportunities to provide children everything that they need on-site.
“Our team made funding this project a priority in the budget process this year to ensure that it would be built,” said Senator Sarah Elfreth. “The YWCA serves as a national model for supporting young women and girls during the most trying experiences imaginable. This will be the only trafficking safe house for minors in Maryland and we are grateful to have this critical resource available to Maryland residents right here in our county.”
The project reflects the YWCA’s goals and mission of empowering women and assisting them in achieving their self-identified goals while moving to a life away from their abuser, and will help alleviate poverty by providing shelter and education while assisting with healing. The program also assists clients with financial management, obtaining a job, and locating housing – it serves as a bridge to independent living.
“Thank you to the County Executive, the County Council, and the State for assisting us in funding this project, along with providing ongoing annual support for our services and being true advocates for this work,” said Molly Knipe, CEO of the YWCA of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County. “Our staff are on the frontlines every day making sure we are providing the best services for our clients, and we are grateful we will be able to expand our services and create a healing environment for our children to help them realize their best life.”
The YWCA is proud to be establishing the first dedicated residential facility in the state specific to minors who have been sexually exploited. The YWCA is the only comprehensive domestic violence and sexual assault service provider for Anne Arundel County and has clear and established partnerships with the two local hospitals, public school system, courts, police, and government providers to ensure clients receive a full continuum of care. The YWCA serves 10,000 individuals per year through the safe house shelter, licensed therapy, legal representation by staff attorneys, abuser intervention, support groups, hospital accompaniment, and 24-hour hotlines.