Local housing authorities receive funds to assist low-income families obtain job training, employment
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Rockford Housing Authority and Winnebago County Housing Authority were among 14 public housing agencies in the state of Illinois to be awarded grants to assist in hiring service coordinators to work directly with families who participate in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher program.
Rockford Housing Authority will receive $192,345 and Winnebago County Housing Authority will receive $63,936.
HUD awarded Illinois more than $2 million Sept. 2 to help public housing agencies hire or retain staff necessary to sustain the Housing Choice Voucher program. The coordinators will assist these voucher recipients to find employment resources and job training opportunities to put them on a path toward self-sufficiency.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said: “In today’s economy, it’s never been more critical to help families obtain the skills that lead to jobs. With HUD’s help, these housing agencies will be able to assist families in finding employment, increasing their earning potential and putting them on a path to self sufficiency.”
Antonio R. Riley, HUD’s Midwest Regional administrator, added, “This funding provides a hand up for families in Illinois to improve their situation and achieve success in their lives.”
HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV/FSS) supports public housing agencies (PHAs) to retain or hire family self-sufficiency coordinators. These coordinators in turn link adults in the HCV program with welfare agencies, schools, businesses and other local partners to develop the skills and experience to enable them to obtain jobs that pay a living wage. The local organizations typically provide participating individuals job training, childcare, counseling, transportation, job placement and homeownership counseling.
Participants in the HCV-FSS program sign a contract that requires the head of the household will get a job and the family will no longer receive welfare assistance at the end of the five-year term. As the family’s income rises, a portion of that increased income is deposited in an interest-bearing escrow account. If the family completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including a down payment on a home, paying educational expenses, starting a business or paying back debts.
HUD’s Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a long-standing resource for increasing economic security and self-sufficiency among participants. HUD issued a new report earlier this year that evaluated the effectiveness of the FSS Program. Conducted from 2005 to 2009, the study shows the financial benefits are substantial for participants who complete the program.
This study is the second of a three-part series by HUD that evaluate the effects of the FSS program. The first study found individuals who participated in the FSS program fared better financially than those who did not enroll in the program. HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) will launch the third and final installment to complete the series this year.
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