House of Hope treatment center in Merriam seeks permit to offer co-ed residential services

House of Hope Merriam

House of Hope Kansas City, a Christian residential school and treatment center in Merriam, could soon take in boys — not just girls — in need. Above, House of Hope on Antioch Road. Photo credit Juliana Garcia.

House of Hope Kansas City, a Christian residential school and treatment program for teenage girls in Merriam, wants to make its live-in services open to teenage boys, too, and is asking for the city’s permission to do so.

The Merriam Planning Commission on May 4 approved a recommendation to forward the organization’s request for a special use permit to the city council for approval.

The request is to allow the school on Antioch Road to begin taking in boys, as well, making its residential facility co-ed.

Bigger picture: For nearly two decades, House of Hope has been able to take in only teenage girls due to conditions included in a previously approved special use permit.

Now, the school, which is part of the national House of Hope network, wants to open up its operations for teenage boys.

Executive Director Tim Overby told the Merriam Planning Commission on May 4 this is a constant inquiry from families across the metro area — whether or not the boarding school takes boys.

Background: House of Hope’s presence in Merriam started in 2006 as a boarding school for girls between the ages of 12 and 17.

According to its website, House of Hope currently offers a “comprehensive residential treatment program for hurting teenage girls” and also a non-residential family counseling program that serves girls and boys, as well as their families.

The facility is able to take in up to 24 girls, with outpatient counseling sessions limited to 15 per week.

House of Hope expanded its footprint in 2012 with an additional residence at 7040 Antioch Road, according to city documents.

The details: House of Hope says it will keep the boys and girls separated, whether it be in school or in residences.

Girls will live in the original residence at 7044 Antioch Road and boys will live in the newer residence at 7040 Antioch Road, according to city documents.

The special use permit outlines the same age limits, 12 to 17 years old.

Key quote: “We feel like this would be a real benefit for our organization as we can serve more families in need,” Overby said. “We get calls from families repeatedly looking for a residential program like ours for boys, and there’s just not this particular kind of therapeutic residential program for boys in the midwest. We feel like we would serve a high need for our whole region.”