LITTLE ROCK – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this week awarded 16 Arkansas Public Housing Authorities a total of $638,701 in grants, including programs in Southeast Arkansas.
Regional agencies included:
• Housing Authority of the City of Pine Bluff — $57,024
• McGehee Public Residential Housing — $39,140
The grants will be used to help housing authority clients to gain access to education, job training and employment opportunities.
Nearly $57 million is being distributed nationally. HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV-FSS) helps public housing authorities across the country to hire or retain more than one thousand service coordinators who will work directly with families to connect them to the supportive services that meet their individual needs and to become gainfully employed. See listing of Arkansas grantees in this area below.
“This is a modest investment that can make a world of difference for families looking to find their path to self-sufficiency,” said HUD Regional Administrator Trammye Treviño. “As America’s economy continues to recover, it’s critical that we work to make sure every American has the skills and resources they need to successfully compete for jobs in the 21st Century.”
The service coordinators retained or hired through these programs work directly with residents to connect them with local organizations that provide education and job training and placement opportunities; as well as childcare, counseling, transportation and computer and financial literacy services available in their community. Both programs encourage innovative strategies that link public housing and Housing Choice Voucher assistance with other resources to enable participating families to find employment; increase earned income; reduce or eliminate the need for rental and/or welfare assistance; and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.
Participants sign a five-year contract that requires the head of the household to obtain employment and 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 successfully completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including paying educational expenses, starting a business or paying debts.