S.O.S. Director Jenni Chamberlain told The Brazil Times the house at 9 Daniel Biggs Dr., Brazil, was donated to the organization about two years ago, and work is currently being done to fix it up.
"Our end goal is to turn it into a transitional house, in part, to help single mothers get on their feet," Chamberlain said. "However, we may use it as temporary housing for families who lose their homes to natural disasters, like a fire or flood."
Chamberlain explained that S.O.S. -- which has been in existence for eight years and became 501(c)(3) incorporated in 2005 -- will do more than just provide housing for the individuals utilizing the house.
"We will provide job training and help develop life skills like cooking and budget management," she said. "This will not be for permanent low-income housing as we hope to be able to teach the necessary skills to allow an individual get out on their own within a year of coming to the house."
She added each individual or family will be gauged on a case-by-case basis to determine the right path of assistance.
"Initially, there will not be a fee for staying at the house," Chamberlain told The Brazil Times. "But once they have a job in place, there will be a scale amount for rent set that will not only instill the responsibility of paying bills but also provide the opportunity to save money for a permanent place of their own."
Recently, area youth ministers and youth groups have assisted in renovating the house, particularly the roof.
"We have had all the labor and materials for the house donated to us," she said. "So far, the help has come from youth ministries with First Christian Church, McKinley Hill, Berea Christian Church and Carbon Baptist Church."
S.O.S. is also currently seeking potential grants to help pay for further renovations to get it up and running quicker.
"We are doing a little at a time, but we are hoping to complete the work by Spring 2011," Chamberlain told The Brazil Times. "If we are able to secure a grant or other financial assistance, we should be able to complete it before then."
She added there is still work to be done on the plumbing and electrical systems, along with repairing damaged drywall.
Once the house is open, staff will be on site at all times and measures will be in place to maintain a high level of safety and morality.
"There are three rooms on the top floor, and a member of our staff will be on the bottom level to provide supervision and on-site assistance," Chamberlain said about the two-story home. "We will also screen all applicants because the purpose of the house in not for temporary housing, but to help those who are in a tight spot get back on their feet with the skills that will make them successful on their own."
Recently, there have been rumblings in the community that S.O.S. would turn this house into a homeless shelter or that they had already given up on turning the old Brazil Junior High into a community center, which Chamberlain emphasized is not the case.
For more information about volunteering or assisting S.O.S, contact Chamberlain at email@example.com, or contact the main office at 448-8700.
Serving on the Streets will be conducting an open house at the former Brazil Junior High on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 4-7 p.m.
Refreshments will be provided and those who attend will have the opportunity to ask questions about the project to convert the building into a community center.
"Residents will be able to tour the facility and talk about our vision for the Junior High," S.O.S. Director Jenni Chamberlain said. "We encouraged the public to attend and see the work that has been done on the project, which we hope will be beneficial to the entire community."