CUMBERLAND — The Housing Authorities in Cumberland, Pawtucket, Central Falls and East Providence will get a share of the nearly $900,000 in federal grant funding to help public and assisted housing residents find work and receive assistance.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) announced Friday that 10 Rhode Island housing agencies will receive U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant funding to retain or hire 15 local service coordinators to work directly with HUD-assisted families to connect them to supportive services and help individuals increase their independence.
Public housing agencies in Rhode Island will receive $897,685 through the Housing Choice Voucher-Family Self-Sufficiency Program and Public Housing-Family Self-Sufficiency Program to develop local strategies to help participating families obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. Service coordinators work with local agencies to develop a comprehensive program that gives participating family members the skills, experience, and support to enable them to obtain economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.
Participants in both programs sign a five-year contract that requires the heads of the households 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 it can use for purposes like paying educational expenses, starting a business, or paying debts.
"This federal funding will help provide families in public housing with critical support services to help them achieve economic and housing self-sufficiency,” said Reed, who recently introduced the Family Self Sufficiency Act (FSS). “This program is geared toward helping people help themselves. The service coordinators work directly with residents to assist them with job training and help them achieve economic independence.”
Reed's bill would broaden the scope of the supportive services that may be offered under the FSS program to include attainment of a GED, education in pursuit of a post-secondary degree or certification, and training in financial literacy. Additionally, Reed's bill expands the reach of the FSS program to more families who are currently excluded due to a technicality related to the kind of housing assistance a family receives.
The grant recipients of the Housing Choice Voucher-Family Self-Sufficiency Program include:
• Cumberland Housing Authority: $67,326
• Pawtucket Housing Authority: $34,500
• Central Falls Housing Authority: $63,456
• East Providence Housing Authority: $24,470
• Providence Housing Authority: $127,744
• Warwick Housing Authority: $69,000
• Coventry Housing Authority: $51,571
• East Greenwich Housing Authority: $69,000
• Narragansett Housing Authority: $69,000
• Rhode Island Housing: $183,618
Additionally, the housing authorities in Pawtucket and Providence will also receive $69,000 each in Public Housing-Family Self-Sufficiency Program (PH-FSS) grants.requires the heads of the households to obtain