GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Housing Authority has received close to $64,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help its residents reach self-sufficiency and eventually not require government assistance.
According to a Department of Housing and Urban Development press release, the grant is part of more than $3.5 million awarded to Massachusetts public housing authorities, and $78 million being awarded nationally.
Through the department’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, which the funding supports, local public housing authorities hire service coordinators who work directly with residents and connect them with service providers. The services made possible through the program enable families to find jobs, increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for rental and/or welfare assistance, and make progress toward achieving economic independence.
“This funding can make a world of difference for Massachusetts families looking to find their path to self-sufficiency,” David Tille, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New England regional administrator, said in the release.
According to Greenfield Housing Authority Executive Director Thomas Guerino, the local agency has been receiving the grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development since 2002.
“The Greenfield Housing Authority is thankful that this important program is again funded,” Guerino said. “The program provides a dedicated staff person, shared with our sister organization, the Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, to work with our rental voucher holders, formerly known as Section 8, to undertake self- and family improvement to achieve career and financial independence, including training and education, credit repair, child care needs, as well as mental health needs, saving for a house down payment and other approved programs.”
According to the press release, participants in the Family Self-Sufficiency program sign a five-year contract of participation requiring the head of the household to set specific goals.
“A set of ‘SMART’ goals are set, with participants working with our dedicated staff person, Kim Scammon, the program’s coordinator for both authorities,” Guerino said of the process.
To successfully graduate from the Family Self-Sufficiency program, the head of household must be employed and no member of the family may have received cash welfare assistance for 12 months, according to the release.
Families in the program also have an interest-bearing escrow account established for them. Upon successful graduation, the head of household can use the escrow funds to advance their personal circumstances, including, for example, paying educational expenses or making a down payment on a home.
“The success of this program is why the grant has been continually funded for so many years,” Guerino said.
The Greenfield Housing Authority manages Oak Courts, a family public housing development; Elm Terrace, with subsidized housing for the elderly and people with disabilities; and Winslow Apartments at the corner of Main and Wells streets, with housing for single individuals. It also works with The United Arc to provide housing for qualified individuals with special needs, among others.
Housing choice voucher holders who are interested in learning more about participating in the Family Self-Sufficiency program should contact the Greenfield Housing Authority at 413-774-2932.
Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or [email protected]