Like businesses, local nonprofits are applying for financial assistance under recently passed federal CARES Act legislation.
At times, it can feel like a waiting game.
The Men’s Second Chance Living sober house in Hailey recently applied for a Small Business Administration loan to cover its payroll costs to support seven residents in recovery. It missed out on the first round of financing, said the nonprofit’s co-founder Sonya Wilander, but is still looking for federal aid.
“We have our application in for the next round when funding becomes available,” Wilander said.
Men’s Second Chance Living has reviewed 29 applications for residency since opening in 2018. Out of that pool, it has served 19 men with affordable housing, therapy, medical and dental services. One of the seven men currently living there is attending college classes with help from the nonprofit’s college fund.
Wilander, who also works as a Blaine County Drug Court Coordinator, said the organization applied for the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Plan to cover the cost of paying a house manager and part time administrative assistant, expenses of about $6,000 per month. She said the organization also applied for a $10,000 federal Disaster Loan to keep the home open long-term.
“We applied for this due to the uncertainty about how long this pandemic could continue,” Wilander said.
Typically, the home’s operational expenses are offset the $375 monthly rent paid by each resident, which includes utilities and basic household needs. Residents are required to work or actively seek employment to live at the house. Lately, Wilander said, that’s been a challenge.
“It’s a tough time for most,” she said. “Six of our men have been unemployed for a while, but the good news is that they are starting to open up slowly so everyone will start to get at least a couple hours a week soon.”
Two residents are volunteering at the Hunger Coalition, Wilander said. Some have received stimulus funding checks. Most have to cover personal expenses that can include insurance, car payments and child support. As those expenses compound, Wilander said rent may still be hard to pull together even once work returns.
Wilander said residents are getting some food from the Hunger Coalition and easing back into the workforce, but it is the finances of Men’s Second Chance will be affected long-term by the coronavirus.
If CARES Act funding or other means of support do not materialize, the organization could pay for operations under current circumstances for up to two years by spending its savings and investments, according to Wilander’s estimates. This would include spending a recent $20,000 grant from the Wood River Women’s Charitable Foundation intended to pay for an upgrade to the building’s kitchen and bathroom. Awarded this month, that money can be used “for whatever is necessary,” Wilander told the Express.
“At the moment we feel secure, but if assistance does not come, we might be able to sustain ourselves in the future with fewer services,” Wilander said. “Our priority is to have a safe place for men’s recovery.”