Idaho Woman Wins Continuing Education Scholarship
Jacqueline Maurer of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is heading back to class this fall with a little help from Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).
Maurer, a single mom to 3-year-old Quincy Michael, is a Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) participant with IHFA. The association sponsored Maurer's scholarship application to NAHRO, financed her trip to the awards ceremony in Portland, and in the first year of the scholarship, IHFA will pay an additional $250 for Maurer's education.
"We are pleased to see an individual work so diligently to achieve her dreams and provide for her family," said Gerald Hunter, IHFA president and executive director. "IHFA's FSS Program is helping the Maurers and many other Idaho families become self-sufficient and own their own homes."
Maurer's family influenced her decision to head back to the classroom.
"I had a good job before, but not one good enough to support my son and I, so when he was born I quit my job and headed back to school to gain an education and a job that would support my family," she said.
In her application essay to NAHRO, Maurer stated that she intends to use college "to better myself through education and service to children" in the community and to help troubled teens.
Maurer became a Section 8 Rental Assistance participant through IHFA in December 2003. Two months later, she joined the association's Family Self-Sufficiency program, which she expects to complete in 2009.
The program, a component of the HUD's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, is designed to empower families to become financially self-sufficient and no longer reliant on government assistance. FSS offers a combination of education, job training, financial planning, career counseling and other support services.
"I wanted to be able to own a house and have a place my son could call home. I was sick of moving, so when I heard of a program that would help me buy a house, I jumped on board," said Maurer.
In the FSS program, funds from HUD are placed in an interest-bearing escrow account, which grows based on the increased earned income of the FSS participant. Upon completion of the program, the participant may use the escrow account to help pay for home ownership costs.
"The experience has been good," Maurer says. "If you're eligible, I would recommend that anyone try the Family Self-Sufficiency Program."
"I know five years seems like a long time, but time will go by whether we want it to or not. We might as well have something to show for it at the end of it all."