Federal funding to support education and employment among HUD-assisted families
In a continuing effort to help get public housing residents on the road to self-sufficiency, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson today awarded an additional $1.2 million to new participating public housing authorities across the country. This funding will build on the $74 million HUD awarded earlier this year to continue helping public housing residents participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program and/or reside in public housing to increase their earned income and reduce their dependency on public assistance and rental subsidies. To expand the impact of the Family Self Sufficiency program, this is the first time since 2012 that new public housing authorities have been awarded funding. See chart below.
HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, Hunter Kurtz made the announcement today at the Clinton County Housing Authority in Pennsylvania, one of the grantees.
“Helping HUD-assisted families reach their goals is a part of our core mission here at HUD,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “We are proud to work with our local partners to help families in their communities become self-sufficient by connecting them to educational training, job opportunities, child-care and other resources.”
HUD Assistant Secretary Hunter Kurtz added: “HUD is committed to connecting public housing residents to opportunities. By linking people to computer access, job training, financial literacy and other tools, these grants will give residents the skills they need to compete and succeed.”
These grants renew HUD’s support of public housing authorities through the Department’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. HUD’s FSS program helps local public housing authorities hire service coordinators who work directly with residents to connect them with programs and services that already exist in the local community. The FSS program encourages innovative strategies that link housing assistance with a broad spectrum of services that will enable participating families to find jobs, increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for rental and/or welfare assistance, and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.
FSS participants sign a five-year contract that requires the head of the household to obtain employment and that no member of the household will receive certain types of public assistance at the end of the five-year term. These families have an interest-bearing escrow account established for them. The amount credited to the family’s escrow account is based on increases in the family’s earned income during the term of the FSS contract. If the family successfully completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including debt reduction to improve credit scores, educational expenses, or a down payment on a home.
The average household income of FSS participants nearly tripled during their time in the program, from $10,000 at the time of entry to more than $27,000 upon program completion.