The Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) has been awarded $1.2 million in renewal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to continue the operation of its Family Self-Sufficiency Program. Nationwide, Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) competed for a portion of the $105 million in funding that was made available by the Federal agency.
The FSS Program supports the Federal government’s goal of increasing economic opportunity for HUD-assisted families. FSS provides grants to PHAs to support the salaries of FSS Program Coordinators who assist participating families receiving housing assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher and Public Housing Programs. FSS Program Coordinators develop local strategies to connect participating families to public and private resources to increase their earned income and financial empowerment, reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance, and make progress toward economic independence and self-sufficiency.
In the context of HUD’s Self Sufficiency programs, “self-sufficiency” is defined as a household’s ability to maintain financial, housing, and personal/family stability. To achieve self-sufficiency, individuals in a household move along a continuum towards economic independence and stability; such movement is facilitated by the achievement of educational, professional, health/mental health, and financial empowerment-related goals. For the FSS Program, self-sufficiency is further defined as a workable family’s ability to maintain itself free from income-based public safety net programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, and housing assistance.
The LACDA’s FSS Program links Housing Choice Voucher participants and Public Housing residents with a case manager who helps clients develop a plan to increase income with tools such as training, education, and financial literacy. Each participant is expected to meet their goals in five years. During the term of the contract, any increase in income that results in an increase in the participant’s portion towards the rent, will be saved in an escrow account with the goal towards home ownership. Since January 1, 2017, the agency expanded its outreach efforts through its social media, website, and information sessions to increase enrollment and highlight program successes; these efforts have resulted in 322 new enrollees.
“We are honored by the Federal government’s continued support and recognition of our FSS Program,” said Emilio Salas, Executive Director of the LACDA. “Our residents are our priority – whether it be through family guidance and resources, or ensuring they have a safe living environment. We are proud to be at their service.”
As the County’s housing authority, the LACDA administers over 25,000 Housing Choice Vouchers and manages 2,962 public housing units and 267 affordable housing units.