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ABOUT US

 Our Mission

The mission of Sisters in Shelter is to support survivors and illuminate the atrocities of human trafficking through community education and advocacy.

 Our Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking

Sisters in Shelter has short-term emergency and long-term services available for anyone currently involved in Human Trafficking or is a survivor of this crime. Based on an individualized case plan, Sisters in Shelter provides comprehensive services to address trauma and other services including but not limited to housing, transportation, assistance with necessities, counseling, education, enrichment activities, skills development, obtaining/maintaining housing, support groups, etc. and other services for victims and survivors.

Parameters for residents and other requested info are below.

  • Potential residents with a history of substance abuse must provide documented successful completion of a detox/rehabilitation program. There is to be no illicit drug usage, nor abuse of prescription medications while enrolled in our program.

  • Mental health conditions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, though having a mental health diagnosis would not necessarily be considered a preclusion.

  • We do accept pregnant women in the residential program. However, once the baby is delivered, they may only remain in the Safe House for 90 days postpartum.

  • Cell phones are not permitted.

  • We are a faith-based organization, but we accept people from all walks of life.

  • Residents must be 18 or older but there is no upper age limit.

  • We do not serve women with children with the exception of the aforementioned situation of a woman with an infant born while she was already a resident at the safe house. 

  • Our services are specifically for Human Trafficking survivors.

  • We assist in providing trauma-informed care.

  • We provide individualized case management.

  • The house is staffed 24/7.

                       Our History

Our history dates back to 2005 when the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, Ohio joined forces with the Religious Sisters of the Toledo Diocese to do all that was in their power to eradicate sex trafficking from Northwest Ohio. Under the guidance of founder, Sr. Mary Kuhlman, a house on the Tiffin Franciscan campus was made available for providing safe shelter for trafficked women, an advisory board was formed and extensive educational programs were developed to raise awareness of the horrors of human trafficking.

In 2014 Sisters in Shelter became a non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation with Sr. Mary Kuhlman as its first director, an eleven-member Board of Directors, and a house that was donated by Tiffin Mercy Hospital.

In 2015 the organization opened its safe house, moved into a rented office in downtown Tiffin, and a Case Manager position was created to assist with volunteer management and to provide safe house residents with individualized case plans to assist them in their healing journeys.  Grants and individual donations provided the funding.

In 2018 - 2020  programs were extended to provide services to victims of domestic violence and a not-for-profit social enterprise business, Hope's Landing, was established as a SIS partner with the goal of providing training and work experience with pay for women who completed the SIS program and the intent of donating all profits for human trafficking and domestic violence programs and services. The office was moved to a different downtown location.

As a result of the increase in the scope of service, the addition of the social enterprise entity, reduced grant funding and donations along with the stresses of the COVID years and operational challenges, the Board of Directors realized in late 2021 that all of this was unsustainable.  The decision was made to legally separate the relationship between Sisters in Shelter and Hope's Landing and to return to providing services only for victims of human trafficking.

In mid 2022 the safe house was temporarily closed; there was no longer paid staff and the office was moved to the safe house. Two of the original founders of the organization (Sr. Mary Kuhlman and Judy Hofmann) agreed to serve as full-time volunteer administrators to guide the organization through its next phase: rebuild and strengthen the Board, identify and apply for more grant funding, improve website and social media communication, establish partnerships with organizations and people who have similar missions; conduct an extensive donor campaign and a corporate sponsor campaign; prepare the safe house for re-opening with 24/7 staffing; establish sustainability for the future; increase efforts to educate the public and volunteers.   

At the beginning of the second quarter of 2023, necessary maintenance work in the safe house had been completed, the office was moved to the Seneca-Tiffin United Way building, volunteers had been trained to assist in providing services for survivors and educational/awareness programs in the community and plans for hiring staff were in process.  The safe house was ready to officially re-open.

In July, 2023 an Executive Director and Case Manager were hired.

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