San Jose

Bay Area Public Housing Agencies Receive Nearly $2M to Help Families Reach Self-Sufficiency

Twelve public housing agencies in the Bay Area will receive nearly $2 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, aimed at helping publicly assisted families become self-sufficient, HUD officials announced Thursday.

The grant is part of $74 million awarded by HUD Secretary Ben Carson to hundreds of public housing agencies across the county.

The grants will help support the department's Family Self-Sufficiency program, which helps connect residents with programs and services that help families find jobs, increase their earnings and reduce or eliminate the need for rental or welfare assistance.

"One of the most important things we can do as public servants is to help HUD-assisted families achieve their dreams," Carson said in a statement. "Working with 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."

Participants of the FSS program will sign five-year contracts requiring that the head of the household obtain employment and that no member of the household receive certain types of public assistance at the end of the five-year term.

Families participating will also have an interest-bearing escrow account established for them, with credit to the account added based on increases in the family's income during those five years.

If the family successfully meets the requirements after the five years, the family receives the escrow funds, which can be used at will for things like paying off debt to improve credit scores, educational expenses or for a down payment on a home.

According to HUD officials, families in the FSS program nearly tripled their average household income, from $10,000 annually to $27,000 after completing the program.

Bay Area recipients will receive a total of $1,990,818 in grants from housing agencies in San Mateo, Alameda, Marin, Santa Clara, Contra Costa and Solano counties as well as agencies in Oakland, Vacaville, San Jose, Napa, Alameda and Vallejo, HUD officials said.

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