WASHINGTON, DC – March 6, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded $116,703 to the Charleston-Kanawha Housing Authority, Parkersburg Housing Authority, and the Wheeling Housing Authority that will be used to help public housing residents to find jobs that lead them toward economic independence. This funding was part of nearly $12 million awarded to 207 public housing agencies across the U.S.
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 Deputy Regional Director Brenda Laroche. “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.
HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; 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 at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.