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Single mothers feeling the crush of rising housing prices

The state has approved $3.5M for a program that helps homeless single mothers and senior women in St. Augustine.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla — Many people are starting to feel the crunch of rising housing prices. 

But there's one segment of the community that may be feeling it more acutely: single mothers. 

Now comes news that the Florida legislature has approved millions in funding for a program that helps women such as Teyona Rodgers. 

The stunning 29-year-old woman just had her second baby in April.

How Rodgers got to this point, sitting with a roof above her head and food to eat is a story.

Rodgers told First Coast News she had lived in New York. "I was in a bad marriage. I came here [Florida] to start over and stay with family. Basically my family and I had a falling out."

When she moved to Florida, she already had a baby boy and was pregnant. 

Rodgers ended up homeless. When she could not afford a hotel room, she lived in her car  She parked at rest stops overnight. All this while taking care of her little boy and pregnant. 

She worked during the day and "I was actually in school [college] too. So I was doing school on my phone." 

"It was very stressful," she nodded. 

"I tried to look for affordable housing but there was a waiting list," Rodgers said. "Six to twelve months or longer. I was homeless then. I needed someplace to go." 

A nurse eventually asked for an address from Rodgers, she told the nurse she did not have one. The nurse told Rodgers about Alpha Omega Miracle Home in St. Augustine.  

Alpha Omega houses homeless moms with their children and senior women above 60.

Rodgers is going through the Alpha Omega program now. The program placed her and her children in an apartment with another woman who is pregnant and also in the program. 

Lisa Franklin is the Founder and CEO of Alpha Omega. She said participants are assisted by case managers who help them with their education and health and more. The goal is to get the women to a point where they can live on their own. 

Franklin recently learned the Florida legislature just approved $3.5 million toward building 20 apartments to house 100 more people, plus a six-bedroom dorm, and a community care center.

They will be built on the organization's property in St. Augustine. This comes as single mothers' ability to find a home is exacerbated by the sky-high price of housing in St. Johns County and northeast Florida. 

Franklin said, "That is a huge part of what we're seeing but the issue was there before. This has impacted not only the moms already in need, but moms who never thought they'd find themselves in this situation." 

The new Alpha Omega apartments will help, just like the current ones have made a difference for Rodgers and her two children. Rodgers aims to be a hospital administrator. 

"I've always been a go getter," Rodgers said. "But this was my first time ever being in a bad situation. I'm happy I have them" at Alpha Omega.

Alpha Omega is still fundraising for the project and expansion. 

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