The Northwest Georgia Housing Authority was awarded $41,410 in grants to to link low-income families with the necessary education and job training to put them on the path to self-sufficiency.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Jr. announced today that public housing agencies in Georgia will receive an overall sum of $697,378.

These agencies are among nearly 600 that will receive approximately $54 million in grants.

Funded through HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program, the grants allow public housing agencies to work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program to help individuals already participating in HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program increase their education or gain marketable skills that will enable them to obtain jobs that pay a living wage.

“This program is absolutely critical in today’s economy,” said Ed Jennings, Jr. HUD Southeast Regional Administrator.

“The research demonstrates that this program works. When families are given the tools they need to move beyond the voucher program, they do. Ultimately, they become self-sufficient and more vouchers become available for other families, some who have been waiting for long periods to receive housing assistance. For America to win the future we need a trained and skilled workforce.”

The funding allows local housing authorities to hire coordinators (or caseworkers) to link adults in the Housing Choice Voucher program to local organizations that provide job training, childcare, counseling, transportation and job placement.

Participants in the HCV/FSS program sign a contract that requires the head of the household to get a job and the family will no longer receive welfare assistance at the end of the five-year term.

As the family’s income rises, a portion of that increased income is deposited in an interest-bearing escrow account.

If the family completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including paying educational expenses, starting a business or paying back debts.

The Family Self Sufficiency Program is a long-standing resource for increasing economic security and self-sufficiency among HCV participants.