LITTLE ROCK - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston today announced that 15 public housing agencies in Arkansas will receive a total of $712,171 to provide low-income persons with HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers with the necessary job training to put them on a path toward self-sufficiency. Nationally, a total of 48 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico will receive nearly $49 million in grants.
Funded through HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV/FSS < http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/hcv/fss.cfm > ), the grants allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program to help participating individuals develop the skills and experience to enable them to obtain jobs that pay a living wage.
This program has proven its effectiveness in helping families develop the skills that lead to stable employment," said Preston. "Getting a decent job and increasing a person's potential for higher paying employment is the first step to becoming economically independent."
PHAs use the funding to hire family self-sufficiency coordinators to link adults in the Housing Choice Voucher program to local organizations that provide job training, childcare, counseling, transportation and job placement. PHAs can also hire homeownership coordinators to help families get homeownership counseling.
Participants in the HCV/FSS program sign a contract that stipulates 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.