The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded the Town of North Wilkesboro Housing Authority nearly $253,000 to fund two positions in an effort to promote jobs, self-sufficiency, and independent living for HUD-assisted housing residents.
The funding includes $198,000 through the Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency-Service Coordinators Program (ROSS-SC) program, and $55,000 through the Public Housing - Family Self-Sufficiency program (PH-FSS).
The $198,000 ROSS-HC grant will fund the position for a self-sufficiency service coordinator for three years.
Mary Bauguess, the director of the local housing authority, explained that the coordinator "will work with the tenants and help them get a better education and a better job so that they can work toward being self-sufficient. Many of the tenants now receive Work First payments through the Department of Social Services for families with no income. We want them to be able to find a job so that they no longer need public assistance."
The position funded with the $55,000 grant for the Public Housing-Family Self-Sufficiency Program will work closely with the elderly residents who live in authority's housing to help them further their education and find jobs.
"Through the ROSS grant, we want to make certain that the needs of our elderly residents are covered," said Ms. Bauguess. "We'll be checking to see that they get their prescriptions and get to all of their physician appointments so they that can remain living independently in their apartments as long as possible."
Nickie Brady, who is already on the staff and has been working with the after-school program and checking on the elderly residents, will assume the duties as the director of the PH-FSS coordinator. Other members of the staff will help with the duties previously handled by Ms. Brady.
In all, HUD awarded nearly $100 million in grants to help public and assisted housing residents find employment; connect with needed services; and help the elderly and people with disabilities maintain independent living.
"Providing housing assistance alone is often not enough to help individuals increase their independence," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "The service coordinators funded through these programs open doors that help HUD-assisted families find jobs, access services and assist the elderly and disabled to continue living as independently as possible in their homes."
The purpose of the ROSS-SC and PH-FSS programs is to encourage local, innovative strategies that link public housing assistance with public and private resources to enable participating families to increase earned income; reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance; and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.