Without a home soon?

A federal funding delay leaves single parents and others in a Community Works transitional housing program in limbo
Ronique Snyder, 18, and her 14-month-old daughter, Dailynn, will lose their Medford transitional housing if emergency funding does not come through.Mail Tribune / Julia Moore

Ronique Snyder has worked herself onto the right track since dropping out of high school two years ago, but a tie-up in federal funding meant to help low-income, working single mothers in Medford could leave her and her 14-month-old daughter without a home.

Snyder, 18, says Community Works' Transitional Living Program, which provides rent subsidies to former homeless youths, runaways and single parents, has helped her attend college and get a job to support her daughter, Dailynn.

How you can help

An account has been established at People's Bank branches to help continue rent subsidies provided through the Transitional Living Program at Community Works.

People who want to help can make deposits to Community Works at any time.

Make checks payable to the Community Works TLP Account. The funds will go toward the rent subsidies. A total of $6,500 per month is needed for 13 residents who face a loss of funding.

The program is in jeopardy and hangs in limbo until Community Works learns whether federal funding will come through to keep the subsidies flowing to Jackson County residents who depend on them.

"This program is not just a handout," Snyder said. "They don't just take care of you by giving you rent money. You have to bust your butt and help yourself."

To remain in the program, Snyder has to either be working or attending school. She then receives a $710 subsidy to pay the rent for her west Medford apartment.

"You have to spend 40 hours a week doing something productive, or they won't let you in the program," Snyder said.

The father of her child is not providing support and rarely sees his daughter, Snyder said.

Snyder's bumpy road began in high school. She didn't take it seriously and dropped out during her sophomore year. She quickly realized that was a mistake and tried to finish, but became pregnant and dropped out again.

She found herself in a small apartment with her brother, but it wasn't a good place to raise her daughter.

Snyder then learned of Community Works and was admitted to the Transitional Living Program.

She has since earned her GED and is getting good grades at Rogue Community College, where she studies nursing. She also works at Superior Athletic Club to pay her power bill and buy food.

The programs allows for 22 months of rent subsidies. Snyder has been in the program for six months.

"I've been with it only a short time, but it's done so much for me," she said. "And I know it's helped other girls."

The program is funded by the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The agency has seen cutbacks in recent years and no longer has adequate staffing to keep local organizations such as Community Works informed of grant awards.

The money runs out today, and Community Works gave those who rely on the subsidies a 30-day notice before they are cut off.

"It's been a scramble to work with other agencies to help them out," said Coriann Matthews, a case manager with Community Works. "We don't want them to get kicked out of their apartments with nowhere to go."

Community Works has enough money to continue providing rent help to five people for the foreseeable future. That leaves no money for 13 who are housed in apartments throughout Medford and Jackson County, including 10 young mothers, said Community Works CEO Ginger Lee.

Snyder said losing the rent help could force her to drop out of school. She hopes to attend nursing classes at Southern Oregon University after graduating from RCC.

"It's stressful to find out you might lose your home," Snyder said. "I'm sure I'll figure something out, though."

An account has been established at People's Bank branches. People 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. A total of $6,500 per month is needed to maintain services for all 13 residents.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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