HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Cat French shows one of her staffers what she wants done at her organization, Elijah Rising. She is a woman on a mission to get women out of prostitution.
"Houston has the number one problem with sex trafficking and sexual exploitation," says French. "Why would we not have the premier solution? The largest recovery campus in the nation."
Elijah Rising has been at this for years. It has taken over a former brothel to use as a shelter and the organization conducts van tours of trafficking hotspots to increase awareness. The organization has also acquire a former institution in rural Fort Bend County. FOX 26 News will not share the location of the building for security reasons. It is a large tract of land with multiple buildings.. The plan is to turn it into a residence, counseling and vocational training center for trafficked women and their children.
"It's incredible," says French. "It was listed at $2.2 million and I offered $750,000 in a letter of faith because I didn't have $750,000. so I said God will get us the money."
To say it needs some tender loving care is an understatement. The space had been vacant since 2004 and it needs everything, including furniture, fixtures and equipment. There's mold, a leaking window and destroyed sheetrock. Also needed is skilled and unskilled labor, which is currently not in the budget.
"We kinda pushed all our chips to the middle of the table just to secure the facility, which we did miraculously. we're doing it on a very shoestring budget," says French.
As primitive as things seems right now, French says Elijah Rising would be ready to start accepting residents now but for one thing -- there's no water because the pump is broken. The organization is surviving for now. But in case you haven't realized it yet, there are very determined people at Eljah Rising and the staff and volunteers are steadily turning things around. They are determined, but not too proud to seek help.
"We are definitely going to do it," says French. "I mean God brought us this far. he's not going to abandon us in the middle of the process." Or in the middle of her mission.