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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-636
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD officeDecember 9, 1998


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $36.9 million in grants to prevent parents from losing their children because they face a housing crisis, and to help adults in HUD-assisted housing get jobs and become self-sufficient.

"These grants will transform the lives of some of the neediest families in America," Cuomo said. "We are giving these families the opportunity to achieve what most of us already enjoy - decent housing where parents and children can live together, and a job that enables adults to support their families with a paycheck instead of a welfare check."

The assistance to public housing agencies around the nation comes under two programs:

  • $19.1 million for the Family Unification Program. This will provide rental assistance subsidies to about 3,000 low-income families, made up of about 10,000 people. Children in these families have been taken or are about to be taken from their parents and put into foster care by local social service agencies because the families lack adequate housing.

  • $17.8 million for the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. This will provide funds to 530 small public housing agencies in every state to pay the salaries of a self-sufficiency coordinator in each housing agency. The coordinators are expected to help an estimated 20,000 adults receiving HUD rental assistance subsidies to get jobs.

Here are more details of each program:


Families benefiting from the Family Unification Program are primarily single mothers and their children who are homeless, battered women who have fled their homes with their children to escape violent husbands and boyfriends, and families living in slum housing unfit for children to occupy.

The Section 8 rental assistance subsidies that the families receive enable them to rent apartments for just 30 percent of their income.

David S. Liederman, Executive Director of the Child Welfare League of America, which represents local social service agencies around the country that work to protect children, praised HUD's Family Unification Program.

"We appreciate HUD's support for this important program," Liederman said. He said that since the program was founded in 1992 it "has helped some 50,000 children and their families to become more stable and gain a necessary foothold in their move toward self-sufficiency."


The self-sufficiency coordinators whose salaries are paid by the Family Self-Sufficiency Program work to connect adults receiving HUD Section 8 rental assistance subsidies with education, job training, child care, counseling, transportation, job placement and other services needed to enable them to get jobs.

Some participants in the program are on welfare, and others are in low-wage unskilled jobs and seeking to move up to better paying jobs so they can support their families.

Participants sign a contract saying the head of the household will get a job and no one in the family will be receiving welfare assistance within five years.

During the term of the contract, as a family's income rises with new employment, about a third of the increased income goes to an interest-bearing escrow account. Normally, the same portion of the increased income would be used to pay higher rent payments in HUD-subsidized housing.

If a family fulfills its contract requiring employment and independence from welfare, it can use its escrow account for such things as a downpayment on a home purchase, starting a business, paying back debts and paying educational expenses. If a family fails to fulfill the contract, it does not get the funds in the escrow account.

Across the country, an estimated 50,000 families are currently taking part in HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency Program. About 20,000 are served by coordinators in small housing authorities whose salaries are paid by the grants announced today. Larger housing authorities pay the salaries of self-sufficiency coordinators out of their own funds.


Cuomo said both programs awarding grants today have many success stories of how they changed the lives of people in need. He cited these examples of women whose lives were dramatically improved by the Family Self-Sufficiency Program:

  • Rosemary Garcia - Tucson, Arizona: A single mother of four, Garcia joined the Family Self-Sufficiency program in 1993. She had no job, no income and no marketable job skills. The HUD program provided tuition, books and transportation assistance so she could attend Pima Medical Institute and become a Certified Medical Assistant. She then went to work for the University of Arizona Campus Health Center. She went on to a promotion as a Certified Patient Care Technician. Garcia is now off welfare and has owned her own home since November 1997.

  • Evelyn Strong - Lincoln, Nebraska: When Strong signed up for the Family Self-Sufficiency program in 1992, she was a single mother, struggling to live off $216 per month in welfare and food stamps. Each day was a challenge to get her son to school and herself to Southeast Community College. Her studies and hard work led to her certification and employment as a Licensed Practical Nurse. By March of 1995, Strong had over $5,000 in her escrow account and was able to purchase a brick, ranch-style home. She is now working on her new goal - a degree as a Registered Nurse.

  • Linda Rodgers - San Diego, California: When Rodgers joined the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, she was on welfare and raising her three young sons as a single parent. She went to work full-time at a local pharmacy as a clerk and at the same time went back to school to become a certified Pharmacy Technician. HUD assistance covered the cost of her books, fees and supportive services. Rodgers was promoted to Pharmacy Technician and is now saving to buy a home.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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