June 7, 2011

HUD Helping Families: Housing is Just the Beginning

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This post is also available in: Spanish

When it comes to helping families pull their way out of poverty, housing is just the beginning.

That’s why HUD recently announced $15 million in grants to more than 200 public housing authorities across the country that will connect families with valuable education and employment opportunities. With help from local agencies, public housing residents can not only find a place to call home, but put themselves on a path to self-sufficiency.

HUD awarded the grants last week through its Public and Indian Housing Family Self-Sufficiency Program, which coordinates public and private resources that can help families find education and jobs. The ultimate goal: Economic independence, eliminating the need for government assistance.

These grants are an investment in the futures of American families. And while they provide families with valuable resources for employment and education, they also help reduce the burden on tax payers by making families less reliant on government services.

Before they begin the program, participants must sign a contract identifying their responsibilities as they work towards self-sufficiency. For families that receive assistance, that means promising to become independent before completing the five-year program. These grants help pull vulnerable families out of economic peril, while acting as an investment to reduce the dependence on government help.

And this is an investment worth making. A HUD study showed graduates of the Family Self-Sufficiency program are more likely to be employed and have higher incomes than those who did not enroll.

The importance of giving families a roof over their heads cannot be understated. But HUD knows that housing is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helping some of the most vulnerable Americans move toward self-sufficiency.

HUD’s impact is not measured in brick and mortar alone. The importance of its programs shows in the student who graduates when college once seemed impossible; in the parents who provide for their children not with a check from their government but the rewards from a day’s work; and in the family that moves into a new home, no longer dependent on taxpayer help.

With the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, and the grants HUD announced last week, we are working to win the future by making American families the best prepared to thrive in every aspect of the modern economy. Housing is just the beginning.

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