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NEW: RI Housing Receives $180,000 for Family Self Sufficiency Aid

Monday, February 10, 2014


The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded Rhode Island Housing a $180,528 grant to continue operation of the agency’s Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program in 2014.

Family Self Sufficiency is a program meant to assist and educate individuals and families who receive assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) towards greater achieve economic independence. The federal grant will ensure that Rhode Island Housing’s program service coordinators can continue to connect program participants with much-needed assistance and social services.

“This funding delivers critical services to Rhode Island residents to help them move towards financial success and independence,” said Barbara Fields, HUD New England Regional Administrator.

Family Self Sufficiency is a voluntary five-year program that assists clients receiving housing vouchers from the state. Working with a Rhode Island Housing FSS program coordinator, participants develop a plan tailored to their individual needs. Depending on the individual, the FSS program coordinator helps connect the participant to social services including child care, transportation, education, job training, employment counseling, financial literacy and homeownership counseling. Through FSS, clients pay into an escrow fund that at the end of their five years can serve as a down payment on a home or an investment in education.

“Our FSS program has a life-changing impact on those we serve, empowering individuals and families in the HCVP program and moving them toward economic independence,” said Richard Godfrey, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “We realize that many families may be closer to financial independence than they realize. The FSS program is designed to offer hard-working families guidance and support to help them gain the skills and experience necessary to obtain jobs, meet their personal goals and achieve financial independence. We’re proud to be an administrator of this program and look forward to helping many more individuals and families throughout the year.”

Rhode Island Housing has served as an FSS program administrator over 20 years and currently has 140 active participants enrolled in the program. Of the 140, over 65 percent have established savings accounts. Since 2009, 37 families have graduated from the program and have collectively received more than $330,000 in savings.

Francisca Garcia is one FSS program graduate, and her gratitude for the service it provides could not be clearer. Currently employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Francisca works full time to support her three children. She also attends school part time with the goal of completing her bachelor’s degree in social work, a career that will allow her to give back to many, as others have done for her. “Without the assistance from this program, I would be in a lot of trouble,” said Francisca. “As a single mother, both working and trying to receive an education, it is very difficult. I don’t have to worry; my home makes me feel secure.”

Eligible families and individuals who are interested in achieving self sufficiency are encouraged to apply to participate in the FSS program. To learn more about the FSS program, please contact Maryrose Mensah by phone at 401-457-1106 or via email at [email protected].    


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