Former Royce School in Beloit to house new Family Services’ transitional living project

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 2:09 PM CST
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BELOIT, Wis. (WIFR) - A former elementary school will soon transition into a start towards a better future for some Beloit families.

Family Services of Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, Inc., purchased the old Royce School building at 825 Liberty Avenue to develop the Next Step transitional living project for unhoused young children and parents in Rock County.

One of the goals of the Next Step project is to provide safe and stable living for families with young children so they can thrive and fully participate in the community.

“A stable foundation is so important for all family members to thrive. Housing instability can negatively impact a child’s ability to learn, develop, and grow. There are many families that want to be productive and contributing members of our community but are unable to do so because they must focus their energy and resources on stabilizing their housing,” said Kelsey Hood Christenson, Director of Survivor Empowerment Services. “We hope this project will serve as a safe and stable place for these families to put the pieces together and move forward with the skills and resources they need to thrive.”

Slated to begin construction this spring, the 17-unit building will provide child care along with trauma-informed supportive services like parenting and financial counseling. Residents will also have access to mentorship focusing on mental and physical health care, education and job training.

“We knew what the needs were, working with a lot of very vulnerable families, families that have a lot challenges they’re facing,” said Hood-Christenson.

“We are both honored and encouraged by the extent of support this project has received from a diverse group of champions throughout the county,” said Family Services’ executive director John Pfleiderer. “The support we have received from our project partners and from the community at large is indicative of the depth of compassion and concern there is for our vulnerable neighbors.”

Upon completion, the project will include a childcare center with an outdoor playground for newborn to preschool-age residents along with 50 additional spots available for need-based families.