HUD Provides $49.3M for Job Training to Low-Incomes People

The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will provide public housing agencies across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico with nearly $49.3 million to provide low-income people with the necessary job training to put them on a path toward self-sufficiency.

Washington, D.C.—The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will provide public housing agencies across the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico with 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.“This is a great HUD program, which mostly touches voucher holders but also some public housing participants,” Linda Couch, vice president of policy, tells MHN. “For voucher holders this can add additional focus to their ability to increase rent income. But we’d like to see this kind of program not be competitive but be built into the renewal cost of the voucher program so that every housing authority could participate in the FSS program and every family could choose to opt into the program.”

Couch says that these dollars will go toward case managers so every FSS program participant, mostly voucher holders, will get to work with case managers to achieve their goals. In public housing, there really is an eye on increased rent income and when the income goes up residents have to report that increase and there is a corresponding increase in rent. “But in the FSS program, the increased income goes into an escrow account and the money is there for whatever the tenant decides to use it for,” explains Couch.

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.

HUD Secretary Sean Donovan, says, “In today’s economy, this program is needed more than ever to help families obtain the skills that lead to jobs. On the heals of President Obama signing the jobs bill that will boost job creation, I’m pleased HUD is providing this funding to local housing authorities that will keep caseworkers on the job to assist families in HUD’s voucher program find employment.”

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.