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The grief and joy of Sanctuary Night

Columbus Alive

September 28, 2021

Columbus Alive -

Sanctuary Night started with a simple premise: to provide a space where, one night a week, women caught in the cycle of prostitution within Franklinton could find retreat. “My cofounder, Heather [Mohrman], and I both live in the neighborhood, and we both served on the board of an organization called Lower Lights Ministries,” said Hannah Estabrook, executive director of Sanctuary Night, which launched as a three-month pilot program in September 2017 and will move into a new, full-time facility by the end of 2021. “And we would sit in that room, which is right on Sullivant Avenue, and we would see these women. … So we went to the CEO of Lower Lights and said, ‘You have a perfectly placed [facility]. Could we use the building a couple of hours a week and see if it’s useful for these women to provide food and coffee and some basic hygiene items?' And that was all it was in the beginning.” Prior to helping create Sanctuary Night, Estabrook, a mental health counselor who knew some of the women from her previous role working in the court system, had familiarity with spaces such as Star House, a drop-in center for youth experiencing homelessness, but wasn't aware of anything focused solely on women caught up in the sex trade.

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