It’s not a college dormitory, but it’s based on that model.
There are bedrooms, common areas, a kitchen. Resident advisers are ready to help out in a pinch.
And ANSIL Hall at River of Life Metropolitan Community Church in Kennewick is filled with young people embarking on a new phase in life — though they face more challenges than the average student.
The new residence hall is for people ages 18 to 24 years old who are low income and homeless, or at risk of homelessness.
“The idea is to give them a safety net while they’re getting on their feet,” said Janet Pierce, pastor of the church.
ANSIL stands for A New Start In Life and is the core name for River of Life’s social services arm. The church’s other ANSIL offerings range from a house for chronically homeless individuals to a rental assistance program.
There’s no place to rebound to, there’s no safety net. There’s nobody to work with you around your budget every month. For those people, particularly, this setting is important.
Janet Pierce, pastor of River of Life Metropolitan Community Church
ANSIL Hall opened its doors in early November.
It has space for 14 residents, with 10 spots currently filled.
Residents are referred through the bicounty Coordinated Entry System.
They must be drug- and alcohol-free, and either attending school, working or seeking work while part of the residence hall program.
A $300,000 grant from Benton County paid for renovating the church-owned space on West Bruneau Place, and contractor Elite Construction donated $40,000 to $60,000 in materials.
On a recent morning, residents were getting up, ready for the day.
Carter (the Herald agreed not to use his last name) moved in a couple of weeks ago and said the residence hall has been a good fit.
“Everything is independent,” but there is also support, the 18-year-old said.
Pierce expects residents to stay in the program for a year or two.
Making the transition from dependence on your parents to independence is tough for most people, but it’s especially tough for those who — for various reasons — can’t fall back on their family, she said.
“There’s no place to rebound to, there’s no safety net. There’s nobody to work with you around your budget every month,” Pierce said. “For those people, particularly, this setting is important.”
As ANSIL Hall launches, it’s in need of some physical donations — namely twin bed frames and mattresses.
The program also could use items such as trash cans, night tables, cleaning supplies and incidentals for the residents, from shampoo to deodorant.
To donate or learn more about the hall, call Pierce at 509-628-4047.