The Northerner | How Brighton Center program aims to help college kids experiencing homelessness


This story was originally published on River City News, LINK nky. The original article can be found here

On a mission statement of Self Sufficiency, Brighton Center is implementing new programs to continue to help make that possible for people in need.

“We are always trying to innovate on how we are connecting individuals and families who are on the sidelines of our labor market to the resources and programs and opportunities that are going to help them,” Brighton Center Vice President Talia Fry said.

Opportunity House is one new program coming to Brighton Center in July, which is intended to reduce the number of college students who are experiencing homelessness. Opportunity House will help aid students ages 18 to 24 who want to pursue post-secondary education but lack the support and housing to do so.

“We partnered with NKU and the City of Highland Heights, and we have 16 units of affordable housing on NKU’s campus that will be dedicated to those 18-to-24 year olds,” Fry said.

The students living in affordable housing will have case managers on site for support. The goal is to support students who might not have had the opportunity to go into post-secondary education and get them into a high-wage job within the community.

“We are asking for those 18 to 24-year-olds that are going to be at Opportunity House to work at least part-time,” Fry said. “They will pay 30% of whatever their income is but keeping that incredibly affordable.”

Things like wifi and laundry will be included in the cost of rent to keep the price as low as possible.

“There are over 6,000 18 to 24-year-olds in Boone, Kenton and Campbell alone, not in school, not working,” Fry said. “We call them opportunity youths. Think about what happens to them if they’re not in school and are not working. What are they doing? And what does that mean for them and how they feel about themselves, how they’re preparing for the workforce, how they’re preparing for their future.”

Trades to Success is coming up on its one year at Brighton Center and is another new program that is helping people in the community.

“It really focuses on helping individuals explore the trade fields, because we know that there are good high paying jobs in skilled trades, but not enough people are aware of that opportunity,” Fry said.

Trades to Success is a three-week pre-apprenticeship program that allows individuals to visit Gateway, Enzweiler building Institute and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. They earn their Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt, which is a professional who is well-versed in the foundational elements of the Lean Six Sigma Methodology. Training for careers like electrician, line worker, and construction is part of the program. Upon the three-week completion, Brighton Center helps get them connected to the next step in their trade career.

“We’ve seen a lot of success with that in its first year and really getting people who would have never considered it as an opportunity into those careers,” Fry said.

Trades to Success was put together through public and private funding to be able to provide it to the community at no cost.

Programs like Opportunity House are a part of Brighton Center’s strategic plan that they work on every year.

“Our strategic plan starts with a community assessment, we ask our customers, ‘What are your hopes and dreams for yourself and your family? And what are the barriers to you achieving them?’ And we’ve done that every four years since 1966,” Fry said. “That really is what starts the development of our programs is really hearing from the people we serve better because who knows better than the people we serve.”


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