“I’ll be at the office packing up boxes,” Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets (PSKS) executive director Susan Fox said last Wednesday as she prepared for a big move. The office she was packing up on Summit Avenue has been home for more than a decade to the nonprofit that provides services and outreach for homeless youth. On Saturday, PSKS moved to the edge of the Central District on 19th Ave.
Fox described the group’s longtime Summit home as “overused and overworn” and said the new PSKS home at 1609 19th Avenue is nearly twice the size and “allows for some expansive thinking.”
PSKS will take over the first floor of the structure built in 1984 with the People of Color Against AIDSNetwork working just above on the second floor and Fox has plans for the top. “The third floor is right now bedrooms and on my wishlist, down the road obviously, would be to turn that into transitional housing.” She said the new location has a kitchen that will make serving hot meals easier. Currently the building is undergoing renovations for its new tenants.
Workers were demolishing walls and erecting new ones at the 19th Ave location and Fox said telephone services are being donated as well as over 100 gallons of paint for the new space. On Saturday and Sunday, the helpers at PSKS made their migration up the Hill. Fox said, “We’ll be operating out of this ball room” in the building’s common area when PSKS moves in as renovations wrap. “It’s been challenging but we’ll get through it.” In addition to the new and expanded digs, the nonprofit will also see a significant drop in rent.
The rent for PSKS will be reduced from $4,600 – scheduled to increase to $5,600 in their old location October 31st – to $4,400 a month at the new 19th Ave home, according to an article by Real Change. The property is owned by Mount Zion Baptist Church.
PSKS went through financial uncertainty last year that nearly shuttered their doors but was saved through some feverish fundraising. Fox became interim executive director (now full ED) last August, replacing co-founder Elaine Simons after 18 years. Fox says she is “managing through a large leadership transition” but is hopeful about the group’s future. The transition will continue as Fox hopes to expand the work of PSKS in its new location.
The nonprofit will work to expand its Re-inventing Steps to Knowledge (R.I.S.K) GED training program offerings, and Fox would like to see a technology lab education center implemented – providing computer training and cooking classes. A friend of PSKS is working to start a garden on the property that could feed into the potential cooking classes. Fox says the new home to PSKS will offer “huge possibilities up there.”
If you’re interested in helping, learn more on the PSKS website.