PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s a race against the clock as advocates for healthy relationships and living conditions try to meet the rising demand from cases of domestic violence and human trafficking.

That’s why Sojourner House is raising money to meet that need. For decades, the nonprofit has provided emergency help and services for victims and survivors of domestic violence and other crises.

“We were founded with the namesake Sojourner Truth,” Executive Director Vanessa Volz told 12 News. “We were named in her honor with this idea that oftentimes people have to journey through difficult times to come to a new place.”

That’s been evident for people around the world coming out of the pandemic, and something Sojourner House has seen daily.

“My dream is to put ourselves out of business so there wouldn’t be a need for agencies like Sojourner House, but unfortunately, the amount of clients we’re serving is greater than ever,” Volz added.

Volz said the pandemic was a terrifying time when victims were kept inside their homes with their abusers, making it much more difficult to escape. She said in the last fiscal year, Sojourner House helped 1,900 individuals, but many more requested help and the nonprofit was unable to meet their needs.

In addition to providing confidential emergency housing for victims, the organization has recently ramped up permanent housing. In such a competitive market, the need is even greater for those who need to relocate to a safer place but might not have the means to do so.

Volz said they now have a portfolio of more than 150 apartments that they sublet to clients. The locations are kept secret to protect the clients and their families.

Other growing concerns, Volz said, are victims of human trafficking and those who are undocumented and abused.

“A lot of undocumented victims are afraid to report abuse,” Volz said. “They’re afraid to seek out help because they’re afraid of being deported.”

Through Sojourner House, immigrants can get legal assistance for visas and the organization will soon launch a housing program specifically for them.

Much of the funding for Sojourner House comes from federal match grants, which means the nonprofit has to first come up with some of the money through fundraising. This Friday is their 12th Annual Masquerade Ball fundraiser.

You can also make donations to Sojourner House on its website.