| Kristine Foye
January 5, 2009
HUD AWARDS FUNDING TO HELP LOW-INCOME FAMILIES IN CONNECTICUT MOVE FROM PUBLIC ASSISTANCE TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY
Funding part of $49 million awarded nationwide
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded funding to five agencies in Connecticut to provide low-income residents with the necessary job training to put them on a path toward self-sufficiency. The $513,813 in funding is part of $49 million awarded nationwide (please see attached list of Connecticut grantees)
Funded through HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV/FSS), the grants allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program to help families who live in public housing or participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly Section 8) develop the skills and experience to enable them to obtain jobs that pay a living wage.
"This program has proven its effectiveness in helping families develop the skills that lead to stable employment,"
said HUD Secretary Steve Preston. "Getting a decent job and increasing a person's potential for higher paying employment is the first step to becoming economically independent."
The funding is distributed to public housing authorities, which allows them to hire or retain FSS coordinators on
staff to assist adult residents to find employment. The coordinators link participants to resources in the community that can help with their job search, such as job training opportunities, employment placement programs or local employers. The coordinators also help individuals locate childcare, counseling services, and transportation, which
are often times impediments to employment. PHAs can also hire a homeownership coordinator to help families get homeownership counseling.
Participants sign a five-year contract that stipulates the head of the household will find suitable employment and
the family will no longer receive public assistance at the end of the program. Because public housing and voucher rents are tied to income, when income rises normally rent rises as well. With the FSS program, the rent increase is paid to the housing authority, but goes into an interest-bearing escrow account. If the participant successfully graduates from the program, he or she can use the escrow account for a variety of goals, including down payment
on a home, starting a business, paying back debts or paying educational expenses.
Family Self Sufficiency grants were awarded to the following agencies in Connecticut:
|Housing Authority of the City of Norwalk||
|Housing Authority of the City of Meriden||
|Housing Authority of the City of Ansonia||
|City of Derby Housing Authority||
|Bristol Housing Authority||
Note to reporters: For specific information on how the grantees will administer the funding (or to request an interview with a participant in the program), please contact the appropriate housing authority. For information on the Family Self Sufficiency program, or other HUD programs and services, please contact Kristine Foye at 617-994-8218 or via email at Kristine.firstname.lastname@example.org.