The fourth Family Scholar House has opened in the Parkland neighborhood and will help 48 more low-income single-parents earn degrees.
The program offers both residential and non-residential services to families that are struggling, and for many who have been homeless. The goal is to support families while the parent earns a degree, though success can also be measured by the 100 percent of residential participants who have transitioned into stable housing, program officials say.
“Everyone here is so understanding with your situation and all they want to do is elevate you,” says Kandice Webster, a new resident at the Parkland location across the street from Maupin Elementary School. “I would say to just have a lot of perseverance and don’t feel daunted by challenges that you become faced with.”
Webster was living with her son and mom before driving by another Family Scholar House location in August last year. After researching the program, she decided she wanted to join to receive assistance while working toward her goal of becoming a psychologist.
Webster currently attends Spaulding University and will be signing the lease and moving into her new apartment in Parkland this weekend.
The Family Scholar House offers residents subsidized housing, but the real supports come from the on-site services that help families while in school.
“It’s all about community. We literally have to do a bit of community service hours and that can pertain from going to say hello, babysitting, cooking from one another but we have to meet those hours every month,” Webster says.
The Family Scholar House is in demand.
There are currently 760 single-parent families waiting to participate in the residential program. The $11 million Parkland Scholar House project will increase the number of residential participants to 215 when the first group of residents moves in this Saturday (They’re getting help of the Louisville Metro Police Department).
Non-residential participants don’t have access to the healthcare services provided by the full program, but they still have access to workshops and mentoring services and they earn points. Acceptance to the residential program is based off these merits, which show officials their commitment to the program.
Family Scholar participants attend 13 colleges and universities in the region and have earned 121 degrees. The bulk is enrolled at Jefferson County Technical College, Spaulding University, and the University of Louisville.
Mayor Greg Fischer says Metro Government put the Parkland Family Scholar project on a “fast-track” for approval, which is the first time the city has experimented with this quick turn around through its Planning and Design Service Department.
Fischer says the approval process that could take up to a year was cut to three months.
“When people come to this city with good projects and money to invest we want to make that happen as fast as possible for them. We don’t want red tape for them,” he says.
The new program renovated the Parkland School that was built in 1891.
The project received federal, city and private funding including a $1.2 million gift from James Graham Brown Foundation, which is the largest donation in the organization’s history, says president Cathe Dykstra.
Family Scholar House expects to expand to Southern Indiana and Carrollton—where non-residential services are currently being offered—but locations have not yet been secured.
Other facts according to the Family Scholar House:
- 98 percent of student parents participate without a repeat pregnancy
- 76 percent have exited to stable employment
- 61 percent have continued education most often to graduate studies