Ruby’s place was founded in 1972 by a group of women who just wanted to help women that were experiencing domestic violence. At the time, they called it the battered women’s movement and opened the first domestic violence shelter in the U.S. Today, Ruby’s place serves domestic violence and human trafficking victims, both men and women. They are located in Hayward, California, and are currently one of the biggest shelters in the area.
The shelter now has a total of 42 beds for victims and their children to occupy when in need. They officially expanded their services to assist those that were facing human trafficking in 2016 after seeing an influx of cases in which victims of domestic violence were also experiencing or knew someone that was experiencing human trafficking in one way or another.
Since the expansion to include aid for victims of human trafficking, they noticed a need for shelter services offered to men specifically those coming out of labor trafficking and opened the country’s first shelter for adult males.
“We have a large outreach and education program where we provide training to the community and to professionals like first responders on how to spot domestic violence and human trafficking and how to safely intervene and how to get those folks help” Says Sophora Acheson, Executive Director of Ruby’s Place for the past 10 years.
Acheson explained that in addition to educational outreach, they also provide mental health services and case management to those who may not necessarily need the shelter but still require some help. They also offer a robust program that provides housing subsidies and no-cost transitional housing for up to two years. This service is often utilized when a client feels that they are ready to move out of the shelter but still in need of extra assistance. This helps them move forward and reintegrate themselves back into the community with help, so they do not feel alone or overwhelmed.
When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Ruby’s Place like many, had to implement extra measures to ensure the safety of their clients to ensure they could continue to serve the community through those rough times. In addition to increasing their regular sanitation measures and addition of designated quarantine rooms, they have made efforts to work with other shelters and local hotels to secures spots in the event they don’t have anything immediately available that meets current health standards. They have also made it possible to accommodate families at the shelter that needed laptops and internet for online schooling through the pandemic.
Ruby’s Place will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2021 and plan on expanding their programs to include full family services that offer help to various kinds of family cases- other than just domestic violence and human trafficking. “We have grown 30% this past year and are super excited that we can still be here 50 years later” Acheson, exclaimed.
Ruby’s Place is a midsized organization that operates with a staff of 60 dedicated individuals. “When you’re in the business of crisis management and dealing with things like domestic violence, and human trafficking, the last thing you want to think about is if we are going to get our paychecks in and on time or how to figure out payroll taxes” Acheson continued, “so I can say that our experience with Payroll Systems has been really great. The customer service has been great and consistent which is really important to us”.
For more information on Ruby’s Place and the services that they offer the community go to: www.rubysplace.org.