RISMEDIA, March 16, 2009-The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded nearly $12 million in grants to 207 public housing agencies across the U.S. to help public housing residents find jobs that lead them toward economic independence.
The grants are provided through HUD’s Public Housing Family Self-Sufficiency Program, which enables public housing agencies (PHA) to hire program coordinators who work directly with residents to connect them with local education and training opportunities; job placement organizations and local employers. The purpose of the program is to encourage local innovative strategies that link public housing assistance with public and private resources to enable participating families to increase earned income; reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance; and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.
“As America prepares to meet the growing challenges brought on by rising unemployment, it helps to have a helping hand guide individuals to training and job opportunities in their community,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “These grants will help public housing residents find employment or assist others who want to increase their earning power.”
Public housing 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 welfare recipient, the PHA must establish an interim goal that the participating family be independent from welfare assistance prior to the expiration of the contract. During the period of participation, residents may earn an escrow credit based on increased earned income, which they may use in a variety of ways, including continuing their education or down payment toward a home purchase. A 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.