NEWPORT – A unique community complex is growing in Northern Kentucky, where single parents who are college students can live and learn together while their children get quality care.
Northern Kentucky Scholar House at 450 W. Sixth St. in Newport is expected to open in August, bringing a circle of support to parents to help usher them into independence from government assistance and overall success.
Scholar House is a statewide housing and education initiative, and the one under construction in Newport is the region's first.
The idea is to create a two-tiered system that helps parents become self-sufficient while ensuring their children, six weeks to school-age, are prepared for school.
"It's transformational," said Tammy Weidinger, president and chief executive of the Brighton Center, which is partnering with Neighborhood Foundations, a housing agency in Newport, on the project.
The Northern Kentucky Scholar House concept was announced last March. Now, a year later, construction is nearing completion, and the Scholar House is accepting applications.
"Right now we have 48 units available, and our goal is to have 48 families ready to move in before school starts back in August," Weidinger said. "The timing is right, and this is an incredible opportunity for a single parent to continue their education while ensuring quality child care for their child or children as they work toward employment success."
The project's development cost is estimated at $9 million, with $7 million in low-income tax credits from the Kentucky Housing Corp. and additional funding coming from Federal Home Loan Bank, Department of Local Government, Affordable Housing Trust Funds and private grants from local foundations. There have been other community donations, too. In January, Newport on the Levee announced a donation of $10,000 to the project.
Tom Guidugli, executive director of Neighborhood Foundations, said construction is on budget and on schedule to be ready before the fall.
The Brighton Center, which has provided job training and family services in Newport for Northern Kentucky residents since 1966, will operate the day care and career counseling services at the Scholar House.
The building includes 42, two-bedroom and six, three-bedroom apartments for families, Guidugli said, as well as the child care center, life-skills classrooms and more amenities that both parents and their children will need while learning and living.
"It breaks down the barriers and supports them all the way through," Guidugli said.
To qualify, tenants must be enrolled in a two-year to four-year degree program. They also must show promise of benefiting from living in an educationally driven and supportive environment and exhibit the determination to become self-sufficient, organizers said.
The Scholar House is strategically located near Gateway Community and Technical College's Urban Campus in Covington and on the bus line for access to Northern Kentucky University and other post-secondary institutions.
Already, the program is partnering with the higher-education institutions, including Gateway Community and Technical College, Northern Kentucky University and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and area high schools.
The Brighton Center and Neighborhood Foundations have joined with the Model Group of Cincinnati, a development and construction company for urban neighborhoods, to build the complex.
• Learn more about the Northern Kentucky Scholar House at brightoncenter.com.
• To set up an application appointment or ask questions, call 859-491-8303, ext. 2300 or Beth Schweinzger at 859-581-2533 ext. 207.
This story originally ran on Cincinnati.com by Terry DeMio