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Ministry for women leaving sex trade hopes to open residential home this summer
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James Bennett joins classmates from North Hall High's Chick-fil-a Leader Academy painting a fence Friday, May 17, 2019, for Straight Street Ministries as part of a service project for the non-profit. - photo by Scott Rogers

At the end of a winding South Hall driveway sits the house called El Roi, a residence intending to help women leaving the sex trade, the name of which means “the God who sees me.”

The residence, the first of five planned by Straight Street Ministries and its Beautiful Feet program, is slated to open this summer as a long-term housing option for these women.

Program coordinator Christina Robeson said the opening goal is August for the four-occupancy home.

“We’re not looking to fill the house up week one, but we are going to try to have participants come in if we can … in twos or pairs,” she said.

Straight Street Ministries is a Gainesville nonprofit, and Beautiful Feet is one of its programs created in 2012 to help women leaving the sex trade.

Straight Street came before the Hall County Board of Commissioners in late 2016 and early 2017 regarding rezoning 50 acres of agricultural property near Poplar Springs Road.

After a battle with the public for the rezoning request, Straight Street was given permission to build five residences with four residents per home. One house could be built each year.

Straight Street Director Beau Robson said the house would offer life skills training as well as counseling for the victims.

Members of the North Hall Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy painted the fence outside the home Friday, May 17, as the Beautiful Feet team places the finishing touches on the home before the summer opening.

“We’ve got our internal workings pretty much ready, software-wise, educational training and all of the services,” Robeson said.

Robeson said there is only one residential assistant vacancy on the 24-hour staff, who will have CPR, suicide prevention and trauma training.

Straight Street’s facility is considered a phase II home, meaning it will house women who have gone through an initial assessment with one of the partner ministries, which include City of Refuge and Out of Darkness.

The partners house women for 30 to 90 days, send them through detox and work to place them in second-phase housing.

“They have more women than they have homes to give to,” Beau Robson previously told The Times.

The El Roi house is intended as a 12- to 18-month program, which may be exceeded “if that’s what’s best for the lady recovering,” Robeson said.

Those that enter the home will have detox documentation.

“A doctor will sign off on a form that she is not just clean but totally gone through the detox process,” Robeson said.

Beautiful Feet will sell personalized bricks to become part of the residential neighborhood to raise funds, and there are charity registries on Target and Amazon including items such as nightstands, organizers, kitchen utensils, bedding materials and cleaning supplies.

Robeson said they are in the planning stages for their second home.


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Kinsley Kirby paints a fence Friday, May 17, 2019, with her fellow Chick-fil-a Leader Academy members from North Hall High as part of a service project the group is performing for the non-profit Straight Street Ministries. - photo by Scott Rogers
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North Hall High Chick-fil-a Leader Academy sponsor Lisa Watkins takes her group fence painting Friday, may 17, 2019, as part of a service project for non-profit Straight Street Ministries. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Members of North Hall High's Chick-fil-a Leader Academy spend Friday, May 17, 2019, painting fence for Straight Street Ministries as part of a service project for the non-profit. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Lydia Forrester adds black paint to fencing Friday, May 17, 2019, as she and other members of North Hall High's Chick-fil-a Leader Academy spend Friday, May 17, 2019, take part in a service project for Straight Street Ministries. - photo by Scott Rogers
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