Just over a year ago, the Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA) looked at the growing need for housing assistance among youth aging out of foster care. To address the need, PCHA’s Board of Commissioners established an admission preference for this special group of youth in the agency’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The HCV program assists in making housing affordable. Adding to the housing benefit, participating youth can take advantage of PCHA’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. “Case management and the coordination of existing services and resources for FSS participants helps provide participating youth the guidance they need as they go out on their own” said Regina Booker, PCHA’s Director of Resident Services and Programs. FSS participants are provided assistance in establishing goals for education, training and employment, as well as in determining the steps necessary to achieve those goals, and in setting a timeline for their accomplishments. A built in escrow account provision allows participants to save money as their incomes increase due to employment. On-going case management provides support and stability.
“Our partnership with Eckerd Community Alternatives has enabled us to make housing affordable to a number of youth so far, and the FSS program is the perfect complement to their housing assistance” said PCHA’s Executive Director Debra Johnson. Eckerd Community Alternatives is the lead agency for child welfare in Pinellas County and has developed an integrated and collaborative system of care that assures the safety, well-being, and permanency of children, while also strengthening families through front-end prevention programs and aftercare supports.
If you would like additional information on the program, please contact our HCV Department by calling 727-443-7684, ext. 3124.