New Sunrise Center gives homeless HISD students a safe place to land

On Monday, Oct. 9, HISD christened the Cornerstone Sunrise Center, the second of a proposed seven community centers created in partnership with existing community assistance organizations to fill specific needs for HISD students, families, and community members.

The Cornerstone Sunrise Center is located at the Star of Hope Cornerstone Community Transformational Campus, and together with Star of Hope and Buckner International will serve homeless community members by providing housing, career development, counseling, health and safety resources, and more.

“One of the things I’m very grateful for is that I’ve stepped into a community that already has a whole bunch of people working on these problems,” said Superintendent Mike Miles. “The Sunrise Centers started with that in mind. We’re not here to replace anything or save the day, we’re here to be a part of the village that’s already working well to help our kids.”

With approximately 8,000 homeless students enrolled in HISD, the Cornerstone Sunrise Center is a valuable resource for the district’s South Division and will serve students in the Worthing High School feeder pattern with before and after school programs, academic services, as well as mental health and social-emotional health support. 

Superintendent Miles toured the Cornerstone Sunrise Center before addressing a group of organizers, donors, public figures, and community members who came to witness the center’s grand opening. The center includes classroom and recreational spaces, a food pantry, and offices for counseling and case management.

“The Sunrise Center at the Cornerstone Community Campus is uniquely suited to focus on homeless students because it is at the nexus of the Star of Hope Center and New Hope Housing, which is the transitional living center, and also the Buckner Family Hope Center,” said Najah Callander, Executive Director of Family and Community Engagement with HISD. “It allows us to bring much-needed services in a coordinated manner right where our families who are experiencing homelessness or are in transition from homelessness are, and it’s been a great opportunity for us to coordinate and work with a coalition of partners who already care about HISD kids and elevate and expand what was already being done. It’s been a great partnership to watch develop.”

The first Sunrise Center opened at the West Orem YMCA on Sept. 6. Five more centers are slated to open throughout HISD by November 2023, each with unique focuses curated to serve the surrounding community.

For more information on HISD’s Family and Community Engagement Department, visit the FACE webpage, and for more information on the District’s many valuable community partnerships, visit the Community Partnerships Department webpage.