March 1, 2007
HUD ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO GIVE AT-RISK YOUTH A SECOND CHANCE
YouthBuild program provides education and employment opportunities
while producing affordable housing
FALL RIVER, MA - Young people who lack basic education face a lifetime of underemployment and can be at higher
risk of homelessness. Today, the Old Colony YMCA got a boost with the announcement of a grant that will bring
skills, diplomas and new affordable housing to Fall River.
The $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be used to continue the Fall
River YouthBuild program. The grant, which was announced by HUD Field Office Director Nancy Smith Greer and Fall River Mayor Edward Lambert, is part of $45.5 million in funding nationwide to help thousands of low-income young people who never finished high school return to school to earn their diplomas, while training them for a future in the construction trades and other careers. YouthBuild grants provide funding to offer job training and leadership skills to more than 3,000 young adults in a nationwide network of more than 200 programs that challenge unemployed and undereducated residents ages 16-24 to work toward their GED or high school diploma while learning construction
skills by building or renovating affordable housing for low-income and homeless individuals. The grant to the Old
Colony YMCA is one of eight awarded in Massachusetts totaling $5.6 million.
"The YouthBuild program serves a population that needs a bridge between youth and adulthood," said Greer. "The
Old Colony YMCA has an excellent track record using this funding to help teenagers earn their diplomas and start
them on a new career path. At the same time we are producing affordable homes for low-income families, which creates another advantage for the community."
This is the second consecutive HUD grant awarded for the young Fall River program, which is currently four months into its first cycle. The 26 participants who are currently enrolled are getting ready to start construction on their
first affordable housing project. In addition to classroom work, so far the students - who previously lacked basic education skills - have received safety training, built a shed at the site of the house, and are currently building bookcases for family centers at housing authority developments.
With this funding, the Old Colony YMCA will partner with the City of Fall River, the Fall River Community Development Agency, and the Bristol Investment Board to provide education and life skills training to area teenagers while constructing two new houses.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.