Monday, March 21, 2011 | 11:50 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
For now, it's a bare patch of land near the corner of McLeod Drive and Tropicana Avenue. Soon, St. Jude's Ranch and Building Hope Nevada will construct a home on the property for homeless young adults in the valley as part of their efforts to help those individuals find success.
It's called SJR Crossings, an independent living program for 18 to 25 year olds who have grown out of foster care. Officials from St. Jude's and Clark County broke ground on the new facility on Friday.
The home will have enough room for 15 formerly homeless individuals, allowing them to live in an apartment-style setting with the oversight of an onsite manager.
The project is designed to replicate "real life," said Sarah Sheehan, a spokeswoman for St. Jude's. Residents will sign a lease and commit to the group's case management program, which is intended to "move clients to stability and self-sufficiency," she said.
The facility's occupants will run their own household and be fully responsible for their everyday life -- including securing and holding a full-time job or being a full-time student, maintaining a budget and other adult responsibilities.
The goal is to have residents enrolled in an education program or employed within 90 days of moving in, Sheehan said.
She highlighted a number of statistics that underline the importance of a high school education to not only the individuals, but the rest of the community: For example, a high school dropout contributes $60,000 less in taxes over his or her lifetime, according to a Columbia University study.
Tenants will pay rent, based on their income, and participate in the Resident Council, a peer governing board, Sheehan said. Each client will be met on a case-by-case basis with assistance from the onsite manager.
The program is designed for nine months, Sheehan said, although residents who follow their lease agreement may stay for up to two years.
St. Jude's Ranch, which also operates a home in Boulder City, and Building Hope Nevada will depend on a number of community partners to fulfill their goals, Sheehan said.
Workforce Connections will provide assistance with finding employment. UNLV, Nevada State College, the College of Southern Nevada and Desert Rose Adult High School will help with the education program. Volunteers in Medicine will also offer free health care for the home's residents.
The home's construction is fully funded by a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $2 million grant from Clark County.
Construction is tentatively expected to take about 10 months.
"Before the end of the year, we should have kids in their new home," Sheehan said.