That was it, the decision had been made, the St Jerome's Halfway House was go! The trustees immediately decided on the next project and made plans to begin. Our funding would make an immediate impact. We were very pleased with this outcome and completely bought in to the decision they made. But what is the St Jerome's Halfway House I hear you ask?
St Jerome's Halfway House
We have 6 of our 33 children now in Secondary school and 2 more of them joining in February 2017. We at The St Jerome’s Centre are aware that we need to have a solid exit strategy in place for our children when they graduate from school. At our most recent AGM it became obvious that this was a priority shared by all of our trustees. We all agreed that we want to be able to support the children with their transition into adulthood and independence. After further discussion it became clear that a halfway house was a good strategy. Strict rules would be required so that it is not abused.
The halfway house will be a group of self-contained apartments. These apartments will be available for an individual once they have graduated from high school. This assumes that they will not be going on to further education. In this scenario, the individual will be able to stay in the apartment free of charge for a finite amount of time (to be agreed upon). After this period of time, the individual will have to start paying rent. The amount will be less than that of the normal letting value of the property. It is seen as more of a contribution, getting them used to managing their own budget. They will also have to sign a contract agreeing a set period of time before they must vacate the premises. We hope this will ease them into independent living. We also hope it will give them the time to secure a job and begin to save before they are completely independent.
There are two other scenarios in which the halfway house could also be used:
- If an individual is still at secondary school but deemed too old to continue living at The St Jerome’s Centre, they may use the apartments free of cost. This will also free up space in the centre and allow us to take on more younger children into the home.
- If the individual continues onto further education, then they may use the apartments free of cost throughout the entirety of their chosen course.
Doing things to time is notoriously difficult in Kenya, but the following sets out our outline plan:
- We will look at plots of land around Nakuru, preferably close to the current children's centre.
- We hope to have purchased the land by February 2017.
- We will begin designing the plan for the apartments once the land is purchased.
- We will advertise a volunteer trip to build the apartments.
- The planned start date for the build is between May-July 2017.
- The project will be managed by a trustee.
- Mark Partridge, a previous volunteer, will be carpentry lead.
- Maina, a local employee of St Jerome’s, will be masonry lead.
- We aim to have the first apartment completed by the end of 2017.