January 12, 2010
HUD AWARDS $81,000 TO NORTH LITTLE ROCK AND WEST MEMPHIS HOUSING AUTHORITIES TO HELP PUBLIC HOUSING RESIDENTS OBTAIN
JOBS AND ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE
LITTLE ROCK – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded a total of $81,676 to the North Little Rock and West Memphis housing authorities to help public housing residents find jobs that lead them toward economic independence.
The grants are provided through HUD's Public Housing Family Self-Sufficiency Program, which enables public housing authorities (PHA) to hire program coordinators who work directly with residents to connect them with local education and training opportunities; job placement organizations and local employers. The purpose of the program is to encourage local innovative strategies that link public housing assistance with public and private resources to enable participating families to increase earned income; reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance; and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.
"Families who complete this program accomplish the milestones that improve an individual's quality of life - a new job or professional certification," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who announced the grants today. "Most importantly, these families get the courage and confidence to succeed."
Public housing residents sign a contract to participate, which outlines their responsibilities towards completion of training and employment objectives over a five-year period. For those families receiving welfare assistance, the PHA must establish an interim goal that the participating family be independent from welfare assistance prior to the expiration of the contract. During their participation, residents may create an escrow account funded with their increasing income, which they may use in a variety of ways, including continuing their education or making major purchases.
A HUD study found low-income families who participated in this program saw their incomes increase at a higher rate than non-participants. According to the study, between 1996 and 2000, FSS participants experienced a 72 percent increase in their median income, from $6,936 to $11,960. Among non-FSS participants, the increase was half as
large, at 36 percent.