published Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Chattanooga program offers rent support to residents

Alecia Robinson, center, and her three children, Ta'leq, Tay'shawn, Du' Quarion Robinson, from left, sit Thursday on what could soon become their home, Robinson's Ford Taurus. The family will have to live in the car if Robinson doesn't receive rental insurance. 
Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Alecia Robinson, center, and her three children, Ta'leq, Tay'shawn, Du' Quarion Robinson, from left, sit Thursday on what could soon become their home, Robinson's Ford Taurus. The family will have to live in the car if Robinson doesn't receive rental insurance. Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press
  • What: Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing workshop

  • When: 1 p.m. Wednesday June 1 and June 8

  • Where: Tennessee Career Center, 5600 Brainerd Road

  • Information: 209-6855

Tiffany Mosely has been jobless for two years, but she’s paid her rent on time with funding from the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.

“It has helped to give me peace of mind, knowing that my son and I aren’t going to be put out,” said the 32-year-old single mother of a teenage son.

Now city officials are encouraging others who need rental housing assistance to sign up for the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.

“If they have a work history and were stable prior to the economic downturn, if they have been laid off, they should apply,” said Carla Sewell, Hamilton County’s community service manager.

Through the program, households can receive rental assistance and rehousing activities that include current rent, utility expenses and back payments; security deposits; storage and moving expenses; hotel and motel vouchers, and case management services costs, said Juliette Thornton, the city’s director of community development.

The Hamilton County Social Services Department is the grant administrator of the program. However, the funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Chattanooga Neighborhood Services Department, officials said.

Workshops explaining criteria for the program are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 1 and June 8 at the Tennessee Career Center in the Eastgate Town Center.

The program is for Chattanooga residents only. It assists with rental and utility payments, but not mortgages. Applicants must show that their income has been affected by the economy, city officials said.

Mosely, who holds an associate’s degree in business and a bachelor’s in psychology, worked in the medical field as a billing specialist for nearly a decade before landing a job as a health service specialist at Cigna Health Care. She worked there one year, then lost her job after taking medical leave for foot surgery in 2009.

This is the longest she’s ever been without work.

“Times get a little scary,” Mosely said. “I’m just trusting God that he’s going to pull me through.”

She was in line at the unemployment office when she learned about the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.

The program paid her rent for five months, and Hamilton County employees with the Social Services Department helped her locate other resources for financial assistance with utilities.

“I was very hesitant to get help. I felt like I was begging,” Mosely said. “But this has been a blessing for me.”

The program started in October 2009 with $93,177. Since then about $54,588.50 has been spent to assist families, said Thornton.

HUD requires the Hamilton County Social Services Department to spend 60 percent — or $55,906.20 — by August. The program ends in September 2012. Officials say they see no problem in meeting the goal and more funding is not expected.

Alecia Robinson, 20, attended a workshop this month in hopes of being able to afford rental housing for herself and her three children, ages 3, 1 and 8 months. She lost her job at Walmart and got evicted from her apartment.

She lived in a car until a church paid for her to stay in a hotel. That money ran out Friday but her boyfriend’s friend paid for rent in a hotel for another week.

Meanwhile, she landed a job at McDonald’s. Her goal is to earn enough money to pay for her own housing. Otherwise she’ll return to living in her car.

“I just want a roof over our heads,” she said, sitting in the workshop with her boys.

Contact Yolanda Putman at or 423-757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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HannaBeckman said...

Tiffany since 2009??? Get off your lazy behind/quit living off taxpayers/and get a job!!Deadbeat!!! Alecia Robinson.quit having kids by every guy in Chattanooga,quit whining and complaining/lets see, you get Food Stamps/WIC/Utility and rent assistance/Childrens First/ free money from churches,soft hearted idiots/what more does a deadbeat need or want? QUIT HAVING KIDS!!!

May 24, 2011 at 5:13 p.m.
lilcobrar said...

Obama won't be here come 2012 and yo assistance will be gone. Makes me sick to see hard tax dollars going to work for someone that probably can't count to 10 much less read. Hey here's a hint...tell T-bone, Mr. T, and Terrell to pull out or go to the clinic. Disgrace.

May 24, 2011 at 11:47 p.m.
rrenner001 said...

I consider myself a compassionate person, and I usually vote with a liberal bias. However, providing a net to individuals like Alecia simply reinforces her irresponsible choice to continue to have children and raise them as a single mother. I could forgive one child; accidents do happen, but three?! shows a lack of respect for being a parent, a sense of entitlement, and a complete disregard for her future and the future of her children. I hope that whomever makes the decision to supply these funds takes into consideration the fact that they are simply helping her to continue to be irresponsible.

May 25, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
dao1980 said...


But hey, if I wanted to be king of the ferrel cats and they could vote, I would put a big dumpster with my name on it for them to live under on every street corner. I would encourage and reward them for breeding into swarms, and I would make sure that they know how to cast that ballot when the time comes.

Fourth and fifth generation welfare recipients, heck yeah!

Now that's job security!

May 25, 2011 at 1:41 p.m.
HannaBeckman said...

I have another question of the 20 year old with 3 kids. She is 20, has 1 kid who is 3, so this means she had sex at 15/16. Does,nt this mean that the male who sexed her committed a felony? Sexual contact with a minor??? Where the hell is the D.A. and coppers on this???Or the Times Free Press??? Sorry ass welfare state!!!

May 25, 2011 at 6:22 p.m.
youwish said...

let me just say that there are all types of people that need assistance not just the 2 ladies in the article. if you read the article you would have got that the one young lady has went to school and has her 2 degrees and has WORKED! If folks did their research they would see that the money being given is a grant not just for blacks or whites any one who need this tax money. and what you going to do about obama ? you are going to do what you are doing now sitting back and spreading nothing but misinformation and ignorance and hatrated before you try to make this seem like it is just one race maybe you need to take your self down to the dcs offices and take a look around, sweetie you will see just as many of yo knind in their as mine. count yourself lucky and belssed because everyone at some point in their lives have needed help from soneone or something. And trust My UNCLE OBAMA WILL BE AROUND BET ON IT

May 26, 2011 at 8:35 a.m.
JoeHill said...

All you judgemental people with hate in your hardened hearts will have your minds and hearts opened when you, too, lose your jobs. Sometimes, some things happen beyond your control, irregardless of all your best efforts like Tiffany's. And sometimes, you simply make mistakes, especially when you're young. After all, nobody is perfect. So calm down and be happy to know that you, too, may find assistance in your time of need. And quit watching Fox News.

September 5, 2011 at 9:09 a.m.
danathefly said...

I agree feeling entitled to help/handouts and continually living with that mindset is irresponsible and downright wrong, but to be so hate-filled and nasty is a disgrace. I, too, wish people would stop at one child if money is tight or not there, but bad things do happen to all kinds of people and sometimes you need help. It's fine to have an opinion, and I share the ones stated to some degree, but that kind of hatefulness isn't helping anyone. I have two Associate degrees, one child (I was married to the father who divorced me), have worked full-time all my adult life and when I found myself laid-off I got food stamps for two months while unemployed. As soon as I got a job, I contacted my caseworker and stopped the food stamps. The point is, I wasn't about to make my child go hungry just to satisfy hateful people.

October 3, 2011 at 1:14 p.m.
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