A new Scholar House, expected to open on the EKU campus in the summer of 2017, will offer a “transformative” experience for single parents pursuing a college education.
As Dr. David McFaddin, executive director of EKU’s Office of Engagement and Regional Stewardship, explained, the planned facility will provide a “one-stop shop” of services. In addition to the 36 two-bedroom apartments, residents will also enjoy an on-site, certified child development facility for up to 80 children; receive counseling; participate in life skills workshops; and be near all the services and amenities of the Richmond campus, such as Student Health Services and the Women’s Health Clinic. Most services are free; the cost of housing and childcare will be income-based.
The House “takes a lot of stress off, so the students can focus on their studies,” McFaddin said. “As a school of opportunity, there’s no better way for us to help single parents become productive and break the glass ceiling.”
To be located in the 800 area of Brockton, near the University’s Fitness and Wellness Center, the Scholar House is the product of a partnership between the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC), Kentucky River Foothills Development Council Inc. (KRFDC), the City of Richmond and EKU.
The $9.5 million project is primarily funded by KHC – the City of Richmond received a $1 million Community Development Block Grant for construction costs – and will be managed by Kentucky River Foothills, which also secured several deferred loans to go toward project development costs. Eastern provided the land via a long-term lease. Fahe, a Berea-based 501(c) non-profit, has steered the project since its inception.
Eastern has long partnered with Kentucky River Foothills on other endeavors, McFaddin noted, adding that the community service agency “has a great deal of expertise” with such facilities. “This is the next great step in our partnership and … we couldn’t be happier.”
Single parents are given first priority to reside in the Scholar House. Residents must be at least 18, be eligible for a Housing Choice voucher, and be full-time students at any degree-granting or specialty institution of higher learning. Project-based housing vouchers will be issued through the Richmond Section 8 Office.
“Low-income, single parents face many challenges, and this Scholar House will help them succeed academically and grow as individuals as they pursue their educational dreams,” EKU President Michael Benson said.
KHC Executive Director Kathy Peters said studies show that families dependent on a single parent without education are increasingly facing homelessness. “Parents who want to pursue college degrees will now have the support they need to work toward a better life for themselves and their families.”
Pending legislative approval, construction is expected to begin this summer.