On Thursday, December 17th, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that $75 million would be awarded through the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program to selected public housing agencies across the nation.
The Pinellas County Housing Authority was awarded $133,539, the fifth largest grant awarded statewide. All families participating in PCHA’s Housing Choice Voucher program are eligible to participate.
The money will continue to fund FSS Coordinators who work with participating families to help them develop individual training and services plans, and link residents with local community organizations that provide training and skill workshops for employment and other self-sufficiency goals. Through the FSS program, residents work to become gainfully employed and more financially stable and independent. Over the course of a five-year FSS Contract of Participation, participants are expected to remain employed while an escrow account accumulates funds based on progress and earned income. After successfully attaining their goals and completing the five-year contract, residents can then use that money to repay debt, pay for education, or use as a down payment on the purchase of a home.
Studies conducted by HUD have proven both the effectiveness of FSS programs and the increased financial stability of residents who complete the five-year contract.