NC organization awarded $500K to provide housing for human trafficking victims

Ivanka Trump listens during a meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, May 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office for Victims of Crime, a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, will award over $35 million in Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking. The grants will provide supportive housing and appropriate services to survivors of human trafficking.

First Fruit Ministries, founded in Wilmington in 1998, received $500,000 according to an announcement made at a White House event this afternoon with Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr.

First Fruit focuses on supportive housing for women and families and street outreaches including street feeding programs, food pantry service, outreach to home-bound widows, and a day shelter which provides medical care, emergency services, and housing referrals, according to their website.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, combating human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad is critical work. DOJ’s grant recipients are on the frontlines of this fight, ensuring that survivors across our country are afforded safe and stable housing and empowered with the support and resources they need to rebuild their lives. I am incredibly honored to join Attorney General Barr to highlight these organizations and their tireless and vital work,” said Trump.

In total, grants are being given to 73 organizations to provide transitional or short-term housing assistance for trafficking victims, including rental, utilities or related expenses, such as security deposits and relocation costs. The grants will also provide funding for support needed to help victims locate permanent housing, secure employment and receive occupational training and counseling.