HUD Awards $57 Million to Public Housing Authorities to Promote Family Self-Sufficiency
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded nearly $57 million in grants to help residents receive housing assistance, a HUD press release reported in late December. These grants, as part of HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV-FSS), will help housing authorities across the country to hire or retain more than one thousand service coordinators who will be working directly with families in need.
“This is a modest investment that can make a world of difference for families looking to find their path to self-sufficiency,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan was quoted as saying in the HUD press release. “As America’s economy continues to recover, it’s critical that we work to make sure every American has the skills and resources they need to successfully compete for jobs in the 21st Centry.”
According to HUD, the service coordinators hired or retained through these programs work directly with residents to connect them with local organization to provide education and job training and placement opportunities. In addition to education and job placement, the programs will also provide connections to childcare, counseling, transportation services, as well as computer and financial literacy programs within the residents’ communities.
According to HUD, “This program encourages innovative strategies that link Housing Choice Voucher assistance with other resources to enable participating families to find employment; increase earned income; reduce or eliminate the need for rental and/or welfare assistance; and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.”
Here’s how the program works: Participants who enroll sign a five-year contract that requires the head of the household to obtain employment and no longer receive welfare assistance at the end of the five-year term. As the family’s income increases, a portion of that increase is deposited into an interest-bearing escrow account. If the family is successful in completing its contract, they receive the escrow funds and can use them however they like, including paying for school, starting a business or paying off debt.
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