From the Housing Authority of the City of Austin's press release:
The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded $460,229 to renew its existing Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Programs for residents of HACA’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) housing assistance program, as well as an additional $334,712 to launch the program at eight properties within HACA’s Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) portfolio.
The federal grant funding supports the hiring of full-time FSS program coordinators who connect participating families to community-based resources to help achieve financial stability. Families participating in this voluntary program can access skills training, childcare, financial literacy classes, and health services.
HACA has successfully operated a FSS program since 1994. HACA's FSS Service Coordinators work directly with residents for up to five years to help them set and achieve specific goals, and to connect them with programs and services in the local community. Goals that FSS participants set for themselves may include earning a GED or high school diploma, going to college or finishing a degree, or improving credit scores. In addition, families in the FSS program have an interest-bearing escrow savings account established for them to eventually help pay for personal advancements like educational expenses or make a down-payment on their first home.
“We have witnessed the transformational benefits this program has had for participants. This has helped so many of our FSS families to break the cycle of poverty and to help build a foundation of financial stability for themselves and their children,” said HACA Chief Operating Officer Sylvia Blanco.
“We’re grateful for this new funding to continue our existing programs, and to greatly expand our ability to assist even more families on their journey to self-sufficiency,” Blanco said.