Have you ever met someone where right away you sense something different about them as if they have this rarified aura of “other-ness?” Sheila Houston is that type of person for me.
Sheila is not only a “finder of lost children” (title of a recent article in Seattle Met magazine) but also a healer of souls because she has this unique blend of soulful grace, tough as nails persona, and utter-reliance-on-God mentality. She is easily one of my fav local heroes here in Seattle with her decades of work on the streets of prostitution through New Horizon Ministries (NHM), a Christian homeless teen outreach and center, and its Late Night Outreach (LNO) program that ministered to girls (& pimps) on one street corner in Seattle one night out a week.
I am privileged to call her a good friend, an older sister, who partners with me quite a bit on sex trafficking awareness. She is a beloved Seattle local expert on prostitution with her personal story and long-term work in the field of helping girls and women in the life of prostitution. Us community abolition activists call on Sheila all the time to be a panelist in our awareness and fundraiser events.
Sheila’s commitment and holistic approach to relating with the girls and women “in the life”: building trust with them, talking to them as people of dignity, and being a listener first is second to none. I can honestly say I love Sheila for who she is and what she is all about.
Currently, Sheila has started a new ministry called Rare Coins Ministries which continues her work on the streets and ministering to these young girls and women in prostitution and helping them to get through and out of “the life” of sexual exploitation and danger. This replaces the LNO program at NHM and will make sure this work, through Sheila and her team, transitions and continues vibrantly. NHM is helping support Sheila in this transition. I’m going to help support Sheila and you should, too!
Sheila is featured in an article in Settle Met magazine:
Best quotes in article: “Sheila Houston was 16 years old when she began working as a prostitute…She was newly married with a baby, and her pimp was her husband. “If you really love me, this is what you’d do for us to make it,” he told her…Years later, instead of burying her past, she shares it freely with the young sex workers she counsels as the director of outreach services for New Horizons Ministry. She hasn’t left the streets, but she has left the life…then I read her a Bible story. I never saw the girl again, but it was something that was in my heart to do for her, because I understood. And I needed her to know that somebody knew and somebody cared…I don’t save anyone.”
Read the full article in Seattle Met (Jan. 2012) here
King 5 News’ article about Sheila Houston & New Horizons Ministries (Jan. 2011) here