24 May From Nominee to New Member – The EHN Process
Here at Empower Her Network, we’re committed to 100% transparency when it comes to the process of onboarding new members and helping them achieve their goals.
With so many deserving survivors in need of support, how do we decide who to help and how to help them? If you’re seeking specifics, look no further! From nominee to new member to alumni, here’s a breakdown of how the process works.
WHO WE SERVE
The survivors we serve are willful, self-determined, hardworking American born and immigrant survivors of human trafficking. They are 18+ years old with legal immigration and work status in the United States.
HOW DOES THE PARTNERSHIP WORK?
Central to the process of onboarding new members is EHN’s relationship with local agencies in each of our nine network locations. In general, the process looks like this:
- Agency identifies ready survivor. A ready survivor is someone who is:
- Not in the crisis phase of their healing
- Have exhausted all the basic needs, therapeutic support, and social services offered by the nominating agency and is ready to move on but needs additional support
- Agency ensures the survivor meets EHN’s criteria for nomination. The criteria are:
- Survivors have limited access to other funding sources for expenses that present a barrier to independence
- Demonstrated sense that funds and services will alleviate roadblocks and clear a path to independence, not just temporarily stop the bleeding of an ongoing, chronic situation
- Sobriety for a minimum of 6 months
- Employment, or employment readiness
- Readiness for independent living
- Completion/near-completion of various programs offered by our partnering networks
- Readiness and ability to do vocational training, educational training, etc.
- A proven record of reliability and accountability with the referring agency
- Determination, ambition, and readiness for the next steps
- Presents a will for independence and desire to collaborate with an EHN advocate on a self-determined Empowerment Plan
- Agency nominates survivor
- EHN meets with survivor
- EHN works with nominee and transitions them to member
- EHN and member work together for 12 to 18 months
- EHN provides guidance and assistance with education, housing or employment
WHAT IS AN EMPOWERMENT PLAN?
Once an eligible survivor completes the intake process, they officially become a member of EHN. Trauma-informed advocates across the country then work with new members to develop an Empowerment Plan that addresses the member’s unique goals.
Although the approach to creating an Empowerment Plan varies depending on each member’s specific circumstances, here are six standard questions advocates pose to new members during the brainstorming process.
- When you hear the word EMPOWERMENT, what does that mean to you?
- What barriers are currently in your way to achieving your next steps?
- What are your current interests?
- Who do you trust?
- What did you last laugh about?
- Where do you see yourself in one year? Five years?
Empower Her Network ended 2020 with:
- 53 nominating national partner organizations
- 90 trafficking survivors on active Empowerment Plans
- 54 alumni who achieved fiscal independence, ending cycles of violence, poverty, and exploitation for their children and their children’s children
Members met their Empowerment Plan goals, including:
- Completing a vocational/educational/certificate program
- Finding livable wage employment
- Securing transportation
- Gaining knowledge in financial wellness, parenting, and/or other life skills
- To date, 100% of EHN alumni have left the program with safe, sustainable housing
- On average, members’ annual wage increase over the 12-18 months is $8,588 from poverty level of $21,423 to $30,011. (Going into 2020, the average was $9,607. The pandemic hit EHN members hard).
Mackenzie McDonald earned her B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of San Diego. Her professional experience in journalism, marketing, and social media includes working for a women-led apparel company and writing for her local online newspaper. She is deeply passionate about the work Empower Her Network is doing and is thrilled to be a member of EHN’s Marketing Committee.