The District of Columbia Housing Authority recently was awarded a $277,500 grant to support its program that assists customers reach their goals towards self-sufficiency.

The grant was one of several grants awarded nationally by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which totaled $74 million, to help customers receiving housing and who are enrolled in the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. The federal grant to DCHA also will support the authority’s Achieving Your Best Life (AYBL) program, which is aimed at DCHA’s public housing customers and is a result of the success of the FSS program.

“One of the most important things we can do as public servants is to help HUD-assisted families achieve their dreams,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a statement. “Working with our local partners, HUD is connecting families to educational opportunities, job training, childcare and other resources that allow them to get higher paying jobs and, ultimately, become self-sufficient.”

HUD’s FSS program grants help local public housing authorities, like DCHA, hire service coordinators who work directly with residents to connect them with programs and services that already exist in the local community. The FSS program encourages innovative strategies that link housing assistance with a broad spectrum of services that will enable participating families to find jobs, increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for rental assistance, and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.

“DCHA’s FSS and AYBL programs have been very successful for our customers. We had some 40 graduates just last year—including two AYBL graduates. These individuals set their personal goals to get better jobs or better manage their credit. Some even became homeowners,” said DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett. “DCHA always supports our customers trying to better themselves and their families.”

FSS participants sign a five-year contract that requires the head of the household to obtain employment and that no member of the household will receive certain types of public assistance at the end of the five-year term. These families have an interest-bearing escrow account established for them. The amount credited to the family's escrow account is based on increases in the family's earned income during the term of the FSS contract. If the family successfully completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including debt reduction to improve credit scores, educational expenses, or a down payment on a home.

Nationally, the average household income of FSS participants nearly tripled during their time in the program, from $10,000 at the time of entry to more than $27,000 upon program completion.


Last modified: 3/26/2019 11:14:33 AM