U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced today that 33 public housing agencies in Texas will receive a total of $3,295,806 to link low-income families with the necessary education and job training to put them on the path to self-sufficiency. DFW agencies received nearly half of the grants awarded in Texas at $1,260,655. Nationally, 600 agencies received nearly $54 million in grants.
The City of Garland received $51,368; Dallas County $64,000, City of Fort Worth received four awards for $269,856; City of Arlington was awarded 3 grants for $162,702; City of Plano received $37,338; Tarrant County $125,951 and City of Dallas received 8 awards totaling $549,440.
Funded through HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV/FSS), the grants to Texas provide funds for 33 public housing authorities (PHAs) to fund salaries for 64 coordinators (or caseworkers) to work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop programs to help individuals participating in HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program – Section 8 – increase their education or gain marketable skills that will enable them to obtain jobs.
“This program is absolutely critical in today’s economy,” said Donovan. “The research demonstrates that the FSS program works. When families are given the tools they need to move beyond the voucher program, they do. Ultimately, they become self-sufficient and more vouchers become available for other families. For America to win the future we need a trained and skilled workforce.”
The Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a long-standing resource for increasing economic security and self-sufficiency among HCV participants. A new report just issued by HUD, which evaluated the effectiveness of the FSS Program from 2005 to 2009, shows the financial benefits are substantial for participants who remain and complete the program.
Participants in the HCV/FSS program sign a contract that requires the head of the household to 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 which they can use for any purpose, including paying educational expenses, starting a business or paying back debts.