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December 28, 2006
HUD AWARDS $1.5 MILLION TO VIRGINIA HOUSING AUTHORITIES TO PROMOTE ECONOMIC SELF SUFFICIENCY OF PUBLIC HOUSING RESIDENTS
Authorities in Chesapeake, Danville, Fairfax County, Harrisonburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Richmond, Roanoke and Waynesboro Win Competitive Grants
RICHMOND - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has competitively awarded $1.5 million in
grants to Virginia housing authorities to promote the economic self-sufficiency of families living in public housing.
HUD awarded $604,093 to authorities in Chesapeake, Danville, Fairfax County, Harrisonburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Richmond, Roanoke and Waynesboro under its Resident Opportunities Self Sufficiency (ROSS) program that permits authorities to hire service coordinators to link residents with education, employment and
In addition, authorities in Danville, Fairfax County and Roanoke were awarded a total of $900,000 to establish or expand Neighborhood Network computer technology centers to offer residents access to computers, computer
training and the Internet.
"An old Chinese proverb tells us it is better to teach one how to fish than to give one a fish, for the one who is
taught will eat for a lifetime, not only a day," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, who announced the funding today. "These grants are true to the proverb because they allow local housing agencies help low-income families thrive for a lifetime by leading them to employment that moves them to self-sufficiency, even homeownership."
HUD's ROSS grants allow authorities to hire coordinators who work directly with residents to guide them to
education and training opportunities, job placement organizations and local employers. Residents sign a contract
to participate, which outlines their responsibilities towards completion of training and employment objectives up to
a five-year period. For each participating family that is a recipient of welfare assistance, the authority establishes
an interim goal that the family be independent from welfare assistance prior to the expiration of the contract. Participants may earn an escrow credit based on increased earned income, which they may use in a variety of
ways, including continuing their education or making a down payment toward home purchase. A 2005 HUD study showed low-income families who participated in a similar HUD family self-sufficiency program saw their incomes increase at a higher rate than non-participants.
HUD's Neighborhood Networks grants allow housing authorities across the U.S. to establish, expand or update community technology centers. Neighborhood Networks centers provide access to computers, computer training
and the Internet. NN centers can also provide a range of services to help residents achieve long-term economic
self-sufficiency. Public housing authorities may also use the funding to hire staff to manage center activities, purchase equipment, and provide computer, literacy and job training.
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, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet