JobSource looking to help single parents break the poverty cycle

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Ken de la Bastide, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
·3 min read
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Apr. 19—ANDERSON — A program started in Louisville to assist single parents in obtaining a post-secondary education could be coming to Madison County.

JobSource is working with the Family Scholar House program to implement the program that provides low-cost housing, child care and tutoring to assist single parents.

Doug Eckerty, director of JobSource, said the intent is to open a chapter in Madison County.

Eckerty explained the single parent has to be enrolled in a post-secondary or apprenticeship program to be eligible.

He said the Family Scholar House program provides child care, pre-K education, financial literacy and child and adult tutoring services.

"They are concentrated on employment and sustainable housing for those people completing the program," Eckerty said.

He said Muncie has a chapter and is working on including the housing component for those in the program.

The concept behind the Family Scholar Housing program is to have the housing located in a complex with the other services in adjacent facilities.

"We haven't figured out where the housing and education center will be located," Eckerty said. "We want all the services to be in the same area."

He said no tax dollars will be used to fund the program and that JobSource is working with the Louisville-based organization on the securing of grants and donations.

"We're working with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to provide rental and utility assistance," Eckerty said.

The Madison County program would start with housing for 25 families, with the goal to expand to 50 housing units.

"We're considering vacant ground to construct the complex or an existing building in Anderson," he said.

Cathe Dykstra with Family Scholar Housing said there are 279 housing units in Louisville with programs in several other states.

"It was born from a project being run by an order of nuns in 2005 to assist single women and had four units," she said. "We're not just about women, it can be men that are single parents.

"We're trying to address poverty and break the second generation of poverty," Dykstra said.

Currently, Family Scholar Housing has 27,000 households participating nationwide.

Dykstra said the Louisville program has hired its own teachers to assist with education programs for children.

"We are providing all the assistance needed," she said. "We include live skills and education counselors."

Dykstra said they would like to see a program start in Anderson.

"The first thing needed is a strong leader and for the community to see how it will lift people out of poverty," she said.

Dykstra said 83 of the current clients have become homeowners and 62% of those in the program are looking for a career in health care.

"Anderson has to build community support," she said. "I believe Madison County will start small but quickly grow to 32 to 48 housing units."

Dysktra said it will take about a year for the Madison County program to be up and running.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.