December 17, 2007
HUD AWARDS FUNDING TO HELP LOW-INCOME FAMILIES IN RHODE ISLAND MOVE FROM PUBLIC ASSISTANCE TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY
Funding part of $59.1 million awarded nationwide
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded funding to Rhode Island agencies to help
low-income residents get job training and employment placement.
The funding is provided through HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program, which encourages communities to develop local strategies to help families who live in public housing or participate in HUD's Housing Choice Voucher (formerly known as Section 8) program obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. Public housing authorities work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program that gives participating FSS family members the skills and experience to enable them to obtain employment.
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.
"Through this program, families will get the assistance they need to help them get on their road to financial independence," said HUD Regional Director Taylor Caswell, "Some families have become homeowners or debt-free
as a result of this program, thanks to their commitment and determination to thrive."
Participants sign a five-year contract that stipulates the head of the household will find suitable employment.
Because public housing and voucher rents are tied to income, when income rises, rent rises. 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.
The grants were awarded to the following agencies in Rhode Island:
|Housing Authority of the City of Providence
|Housing Authority of the City of Pawtucket
|Central Falls Housing Authority
|East Providence Housing Authority
|Cumberland Housing Authority
|Coventry Housing Authority
|North Providence Housing Authority
|Housing Authority of East Greenwich
|Narragansett Housing Authority
|Rhode Island Housing