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1999 Best Practices
Success Stories

Program Name: From Welfare to Work
Program Focus: Empowerment
Geographic Area: Mid Atlantic
State: Pennsylvania
City: Philadelphia

Executive Summary
Cities across the United States are meeting the challenge—how to move recipients off the welfare system and into the workforce. A primary example of one of those cities meeting this challenge is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. HUD’s State Office is taking a pro-active role in helping the residents of Philadelphia, PA, obtain self-sufficiency. Currently Philadelphia has 60,000 welfare families required to find jobs or lose their welfare income. Of those families, 1,500 reside in housing provided by HUD.

Training was an essential component of this program. Before they could help the residents, it was imperative that managers and residential leaders be knowledgeable about welfare reform law, welfare to work resources, HUD self-sufficiency program funding, public housing reform, and children’s health insurance. One thousand managers and residential leaders were trained in these areas before training was extended to the welfare families. Using communication technology, the HUD program pushed electronic education and training where welfare families live, doubling the number of Neighborhood Networks – computer learning centers in public housing. These centers dispersed 300 recycled computers, and brought in child care training to 50 multifamily and public housing residents.

"It is important for those living in HUD-assisted housing to be connected with services and activities that can make them self-sufficient," said Mike Levine of HUD. "To accomplish this task, we challenged all the potential partners such as housing authorities, local governments, welfare agencies and advocacy organizations to accomplish one common goal – get people out of poverty."

Levine is the first to admit that this was no easy task. "Bringing the Partnership to fruition was an incredible challenge," he said. However, through hard work, the program was able to overcome the obstacles and achieve success. The successes of this HUD program are numerous. For example, a 12-week childcare training program resulted in 37 women successfully moving on to paid internships and jobs. Another example is the creation of a public housing computer center in Montgomery County, as well as several other computer centers projected to open during the course of the year.

"Our Best Practice is unique because we are trying to go about this program in a systematic way by using our position at HUD to address the HUD program and the Welfare-to-Work Program in Pennsylvania. We are empowering individuals by helping themselves to become self-sufficient and rise out of poverty," said Levine.

HUD Pennsylvania State Office, HUD Community Builders, HUD Multifamily Housing, and HUD Public Housing staff; the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the State of Pennsylvania, Innerstate Realty Management, Penrose Properties, Affordable Housing Management Association, PA Housing Authority, local resident councils (including Raymond Rosen, Harrison Plaza, and North Hills), Montgomery County Housing Authorities, PA Citizens for Children and Youth, PA County Assistance office, PA Workforce Development Corporation, Temple University, and many others.

Financing: Various HUD funding sources.

Point of Contact: Mike Levine, Phone: (215) 656-0616 ext. . 3128, E-mail: michael_a._levine@hud.gov

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Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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