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HUD Awards Grants to Help Low-income Families Get Job Training, Employment

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Special to the NNPA from the Louisiana Weekly –

(NNPA) - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan has announced that public housing agencies across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico will receive nearly $49.3 million to provide low-income people with the necessary job training to put them on a path toward self-sufficiency.

Funded through HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV/FSS), the grants allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program to help participating individuals develop the skills and experience to enable them to obtain jobs that pay a living wage.

"In today's economy, this program is needed more than ever to help families obtain the skills that lead to jobs," said Donovan. Local housing authorities use the funding to hire family self-sufficiency coordinators to link adults in the Housing Choice Voucher program to local organizations that provide job training, childcare, counseling, transportation and job placement. These housing authorities can also hire coordinators to help families get homeownership counseling.

Participants in the HCV/FSS program sign a contract that requires the head of the household to get a job and the family will 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 completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including a down payment on a home, paying educational expenses, starting a business or paying back debts.

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