Community Service Foundation will provide a two-part series of free Financial Fitness workshops. The workshops will be held at the Pinellas County Housing Authority’s Central Office which is located at 11479 Ulmerton Road in Largo. The first workshop of the series will be held from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Wednesday, October 21st, and the second from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Wednesday, October 28th.
Attendees will learn how to complete a budget plan based on household income and monthly expenses. The workshop is designed for anyone who desires to save money and gain better control over their finances.
The workshop will teach ways to:
- reduce energy expenses
- reduce monthly grocery bills
- save on costly car repairs
- take vacations for next to nothing
- strengthen credit scores.
To register for the free workshops, please visit the Community Service Foundation website at www.csfhome.org or call (727) 461-0618, ext. 3.
The Pinellas County Housing Authority has implemented a program for residents and participants of PCHA’s programs to enhance employability skills and opportunity as well as develop valuable professional skills.
PCHA has contracted with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Family Center (NFC), and Greater Ridgecrest Area Youth Development Initiative (GRAYDI), to implement the new program. The programs are designed to provide residents with employability skills training, as well as personal and professional development, with the end goal of job placement.
Participants in the program will learn better positive decision making skills, time management, critical thinking, along with social skills like how to network. The program offers training on how to write a resume, effective techniques for interviews, and job-searching methods. Help with programs like Microsoft Office and Outlook is also available. Each individual will be assigned a mentor who is available for mock-interviews and one-on-one advising. Mentors will also provide motivation, guidance, and are expected to follow-up with program participants during the first weeks of employment. The program also incentivizes employment by rewarding milestones with useful bonuses like bus passes, and gas cards.
All participants in PCHA’s Housing Choice Voucher program and residents of PCHA’s public housing and Norton Apartments are eligible to participate.
On Monday, September 29th, 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.
Of these funds, the state of Florida as a whole received over $3.3 million. The Pinellas County Housing Authority was awarded $132,425, the fifth largest grant out of thirty-five awarded in the state.
This money will continue to fund and develop programs that link residents with local community organizations that provide training and skill workshops for employment. Through the FSS program, residents aim to become gainfully employed and more financially stable and independent. Over the course of a five-year contract, participants are expected to remain employed while an escrow account accumulates funds based on progress and earned income. After successfully completing the five-year contract, residents can then use that money to repay debt, pay for education, or buy a home.
Recent studies conducted by HUD have proven the effectiveness of FSS programs and the increased financial stability of residents who complete the five-year contract.
Congress consolidated funding for the public housing FSS with the Housing Choice Voucher FSS (HCV FSS) program in 2014, allowing funds to be distributed more effectively across both. HUD Secretary Julián Castro said, “These grants will link people to the computer access, financial literacy, job training, childcare and other tools they need to compete and succeed in the workplace. Every American deserves access to the skills and resources necessary to become self-sufficient” (HUD.gov).
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced another approval of funding to the Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA) to coordinate education, skills and job training to help public residents move to economic self-sufficiency.
“In today’s economy, it’s never been more critical to help families obtain the skills that lead to jobs,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “With HUD’s help, these housing authorities will be able to assist families in finding employment, increasing their earning potential and putting them on a path to self-sufficiency.”
Earlier this year PCHA applied for the grant. “The funding allows us to pay a full time Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator to work with residents in setting goals, and in connecting them with local education and training opportunities, job placement organizations, and local employers” said Regina Booker, Director of Resident Services and Programs.
PCHA’s Board of Commissioners established “Increasing Services to Promote Self-Sufficiency” as a top priority for the housing authority in 2009. Since that time PCHA has worked on building community partnerships and implementing programs to assist residents in moving to economic self-sufficiency.
The Family Self-Sufficiency Program can be a tremendous help to anyone living in public housing or participating in the Housing Voucher program. All residents are encouraged to participate!
HUD recently awarded the PCHA with funding from the Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) – Service Coordinators Program grant to offer more opportunities for its public housing residents, including self-sufficiency through employment and additional resources.
According to HUD, the purpose of HUD’s ROSS – Service Coordinators Program is to encourage local, innovative strategies that link public housing assistance with public and private resources to enable participating families to increase earned income; reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance; and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.
HUD awarded more than $31 million to housing authorities, resident associations and non-profit organizations across the U.S. The PCHA received over $240,000 over a three-year period to implement the program. PCHA’s program will correlate with its newly implemented Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
Director of Resident Services Regina Booker says, “The ROSS – Service Coordinator program is a fantastic program addition for this agency and the families we serve! Our families will be able to increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance, make progress toward achieving economic independence through their training, education, employment and housing self-sufficiency goals.”
She continues, “We also chose to serve our elderly and disabled residents under this program because we find it absolutely critical for them to be able to improve their living conditions to assist them aging in place. PCHA is eager to implement the ROSS Service Coordinator’s program in our public housing communities because we know it will have a positive impact in the lives of those we serve.”
For more information about the PCHA’s Family Self Sufficiency Program and Resident Services Program, please visit our website at www.pinellashousing.com.