The San Diego Union-Tribune
By Gary Warth
Three local housing authorities will share about $650,000 in federal grants to fund programs aimed at helping families reduce their need for government assistance and become self-sufficient.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the allocation of $79 million in Family Self-Sufficiency Program grants on Dec. 31.
Among the nearly 700 public housing authorities receiving the grants, the San Diego Housing Commission was awarded $452,000, the San Diego County Housing Authority was awarded $136,000 and the Oceanside Community Development Commission was awarded $72,000.
The 25-year-old Family Self-Sufficiency Program helps public housing authorities collaborate with social service agencies, community colleges, businesses and other partners to help people who receive rental subsidies or government assistance further their education or gain marketable skills that can increase their earned income.
At the San Diego Housing Commission, which allocates housing vouchers and runs homelessness programs for the city of San Diego, the grant is a renewed funding source for its Achievement Academy, a center that provides career planning, job skills, job placement and personal financial education.
Housing Commission spokesman Scott Marshall said the grant will partially fund workforce readiness specialists at the center, which is available for free to people who receive vouchers or live in public housing in the city.
Nationwide, participants in programs funded by the grants sign five-year contracts requiring the head of the household to find work. No family member may have received cash welfare assistance for 12 months before graduating from the program.
As an incentive for participants to work at increasing their income, an interest-bearing escrow account is established for families in the program, with the amount growing as their earnings rise. Participants who successfully complete the requirements of their contract can use the money for a down payment on a house, for school or other expenses to help their personal circumstances.
Helping people find jobs that will put them on the path to self-sufficiency is at the core of HUD’s mission,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a new release. “HUD is committed to working with our local partners to connect families with the opportunities and support they need to succeed at every level.”
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McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Learn more about HUD funding initiatives in our previous coverage: