From our founder - Ashley Freeman
"As we began to welcome more and more people into our home, word spread and the need quickly became greater than our spare bedroom."
“After graduating from TCU, my first two jobs were at organizations that provided mental and social services to refugees and asylum seekers: The Center for Survivors of Torture and Refugee Services of Texas. Through this work, I heard heart-wrenching stories from refugees and asylum seekers that shook my soul. Both of these groups have fled their homes based on persecution due to race, religion, nationality, or membership of a particular social group or political opinion. They cannot return to their country for fear of their lives.
Eventually, I started to take notice of the gaping differences between services that asylum seekers and refugees are offered when they arrive in the US (please view the chart here).
I was haunted by the knowledge that these educated, hard-working, courageous victims of injustice–who came here for safety–often end up on our streets.
In the summer of 2009, when I was 22, I became friends with two Rwandan asylum seeker women who were the same age as me and on the brink of homelessness. The spare bedroom in my house seemed to be growing more and more vacant. As I spoke with my new husband (of only 6 weeks!) about the ache in my heart to provide these women a home, we decided why not us? Why not our home? We knew our families would think we were crazy, but we also knew this was what God had in store for us. These wonderfully resilient and compassionate women moved into our apartment, and our faith and hearts grew exponentially.
As we began to welcome more and more people into our home, word spread and the need quickly became greater than our spare bedroom. We were bursting at the seams with asylum seekers who needed help.
After digging deeper, we realized that there were no organizations in the DFW area created to house asylum seekers as they await their work permits. Not one.
I felt God stirring something inside of me to address this problem. I turned to my pastors for guidance on how to start a ministry housing people seeking asylum. The City Church graciously offered their support and oversight, and DASH was born! In 2012, DASH Network was officially launched.
Since then, over 20 people have lived with us, and a mother and daughter are currently on their way.
What did we see or learn that made us want to keep opening our home?
We saw humanity–strong, beautiful, and desperately broken. Their hopes and desires are not so different from ours: love, meaning, freedom, and security.