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MailTribune.com
  • Funding delay may leave troubled youths on street

    Community Works program lacks money to help 13 pay their rent
  • A possible tie-up in federal funding could put 13 troubled young people out of their apartments, as Community Works can no longer afford to subsidize their homes after Sept. 29.
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  • A possible tie-up in federal funding could put 13 troubled young people out of their apartments, as Community Works can no longer afford to subsidize their homes after Sept. 29.
    Community Works announced Thursday that its transitional living program that houses former runaways and single parents will run out of money at the end of the week.
    "I'm really worried about these kids," said Ginger Lee, Community Works' CEO and president.
    Community Works subsidizes the residents' rent in the agreement that they either hold a job or are going to school.
    The organization provides rent subsidies from between $400 to $700 per month to the residents.
    The program is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
    This federal agency has seen cutbacks of its own in recent years and no longer has adequate staffing to keep local organizations such as Community Works informed of grant awards.
    "We have been waiting to get notice from the feds about whether we'll have the funding, but no notice came," Lee said.
    Community Works has contacted the agency, but has made little headway in learning if the funding is on its way.
    The money could be tied up in bureaucracy and dispersed later, but that won't help the local residents who depend on the rent subsidies, Lee said.
    "The fact is, we won't have the money to pay the rent by Sept. 29," Lee said.
    Community Works has enough money to continue providing rent help to five people. This leaves no money for 13 who are housed in apartments throughout Medford and Jackson County.
    "We are going to go through and decide who has the best chance to live without the rent subsidies," Lee said. "We hope they will be able to find roommates or additional income."
    The problem is that there will only be a few weeks notice given to the residents, Lee said.
    "It's not much time to find other resources in which to live and support yourself," Lee said.
    An account has been established at People's Bank branches. Community members who want to help by making deposits to Community Works can do so at any time.
    Make checks payable to Community Works TLP Account. The funds will go toward the rent subsidies. At total of $6,500 per month is needed for all 13 residents.
    Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.
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