HUD AWARDS $2.6 MILLION TO HELP INDIVIDUALS FIND JOBS IN TEXAS Funding to make families in public housing employable, self-sufficient
FORT WORTH – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded $2,693,435 to 26 public housing authorities (PHAs) in Texas to help low-income individuals get job training and employment placement. Nationally, $59 million in grants was awarded. The list of Texas grantees and amounts follows.
“Thousands of people will get the assistance they need to help them find jobs that will get them on their road to financial independence,” said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson who announced the funding. “Some families have become homeowners or debt-free as a result of this program, thanks to their commitment and determination to thrive.” The funding is provided through HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program, which encourages communities to develop local strategies to help families who live in public housing or who participate in HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. PHAs work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program that gives participating FSS family members the skills and experience to enable them to obtain employment. Nine of the grantees, the housing authorities of Austin, Beaumont, Cameron County, Fort Worth, Hidalgo County, Houston, Mission, San Antonio and Waco, received both Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher FSS grants.
The funding is distributed to public housing authorities, which allows them to hire or retain FSS coordinators on staff to assist adult residents to find employment. The coordinators link participants to resources in the community that can help with their job search, such as job training opportunities, employment placement programs or local employers. The coordinators also help individuals locate childcare, counseling services, and transportation, which are often times impediments to employment.
Participants, some of whom are on welfare, sign a contract that stipulates the head of the household will find suitable employment and the family will be off of welfare assistance within five years. Because public housing and voucher rents are tied to income, when income rises, rent rises. With the FSS program, the rent increase is paid to the PHA, but goes into an interest-bearing escrow account. If the participant successfully graduates from the program, he or she can use the escrow account for a variety of goals, including the down payment on a home, starting a business, paying back debts or paying educational expenses.
HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; 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.