SHERMAN, TX -- A home for troubled young men in Sherman is one step closer to becoming reality. The city council approved a zoning change at their meeting Monday night giving the go ahead for the House of Eli to be created in a residential neighborhood near downtown.
Come January of next year a home that sits at the corner of South Ricketts and Lamar Street is expected to become the House of Eli, a home for troubled young men who are looking to change their lives.
"Given the chance and the right skill level to work with they are capable of making life changes," Hodge said.
Founder Tawni Hodge says she saw the need for a transitional living home after volunteering at a juvenile detention center.
"Just after talking to the boys for the past four or five years and watching them come out just with a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, and once you turn 18 there's just no opportunities," Hodge said.
Hodge says the House of Eli is designed to help nine young men, each year, between the ages of 18 to 21 who have been incarcerated or have been in the foster system. The residents would work toward their high school diploma and learn job skills.
"We have worked out excellent opportunities out with Grayson College and Texoma Workforce Solutions, and it will be competitive to get a spot in the House of Eli," Hodge said.
Residents like Kelsey Martin agree Sherman needs a place like House of Eli, but are worried about the home opening in their neighborhood.
"I'm afraid they'll cause trouble. They may not have enough people watching them at all times. They might be able to sneak out. I'm not quite sure. I'm just worried about the safety of my daughter mainly," Martin said.
But Hodge says they would have staff monitoring residents and the entire neighborhood would remain safe.
"Our desire is not to put anyone at risk and we hope that a year from now they'll say we're their best neighbor," Hodge said.
Hodge says they are still working to collect donations to finish the House of Eli. She says they are looking to raise about $200,000 more dollars for completion and the operations budget.