Harlingen century-old building turned into independent living center and thrift store

Local News

Harlingen century-old building turned to independent living center and thrift store

February 07 2021 06:00 pm

The Monte & Amy Allen House located in Harlingen, Texas.

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – The Rio Gande Valley’s first-of-its-kind, independent living center for aged out foster children has opened up in downtown Harlingen.  

The 100-year-old building on the corner of Jackson street and 1st avenue and was recently purchased by the faith-based nonprofit organization, Sunny Glen Children’s Home, and named The Monte & Amy Allen House.  

The renovated, two-story facility will offer both opportunity and security for young adults, ages 18-22, who are no longer part of the foster care system.  

The first floor of the center is a fully stocked thrift shop, called Vintage on Jackson, and will have work opportunities for young adults. 

Joseph Albury, Director of Fund Development for Sunny Glen Children’s Home, says the transition from foster care to independent living can be difficult.  

“A very high percentage of foster kids become homeless within twelve months of after exiting the foster care system,” said Albury. 

Sunny Glen has been helping children since 1936, and they are now taking a step further to help the teens in their care transition into adulthood.  

“What we would like to do is present an opportunity for them to have somewhere to go where they have some independence but they aren’t just being thrown to the wolves,” said Albury.  

The college-dorm-style center will accommodate up to 10 young adults and includes common areas, such as the kitchen, living and media room.  

Those living at the facility will be supervised and have an onsite counselor to help with their needs.  

Albury says two individuals who were previously at the Sunny Glen site in San Benito are set to move in once the center gets authorization from the state.  

Requirements for those living at the facility are that they be working and/or perusing education. 

 Applications are currently being accepted and open to young adults across the state.  

“We want to see them be successful in the next step of their lives so for us to be able to provide them with a step up, and a leg up to be successful in life, and be productive members of society, is something that’s very important to us,” said Albury.  

Adding to the uniqueness of the facility is the operating thrift shop on the first floor. 

Furniture, clothing, home décor, and more have already been put on the shop floor for sale.  

“All the money we generate is for the funding of Sunny Glen and for the transitional housing that we’re going to have here,” said Vintage on Jackson’s store manager, Jose Ledezma.  

Ledezma says it’s a great opportunity for the young adults living there to gain work experience.  

“Having some sort of experience, dealing with customers, merchandise, and things like that could give them at least a leg up as far as getting themselves ready [to become independent],” he said.  

The shop held a soft opening two weeks ago and has already built customers.  

Store operation hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. 

Donations for the shop are open and can be sent to: joe@sunnyglen.org   

For more information visit: sunnyglen.org.  

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