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Housing Authority gets $90,000 for programs

SALISBURY ó The Rowan County Housing Authority will share in a $54 million federal program to link low-income families with education and job training, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday.
The Rowan County agency will get $90,900. Itís one of two dozen public housing authorities across North Carolina that will share in $1.53 million aimed at putting families ěon a path to self-sufficiency,î Housing and Urban Development said in a press release.
The grants allow public housing departments to work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program to help individuals already participating in HUDís Housing Choice Voucher Program increase their education or gain marketable skills that will enable them to obtain jobs that pay a living wage.
ěThis program is absolutely critical in todayís economy,î said Ed Jennings Jr., HUD Southeast regional administrator. ěThe 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.î
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 services such as job training, childcare, and job placement.
Participants 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 familyís income rises, a portion of that increased income is deposited in an interest-bearing escrow account. If the family completes its contract, the family receives the escrow funds that can be used for any purpose, including paying educational expenses, starting a business or paying back debts.
The program not new. A new report just issued by HUD and conducted from 2005 to 2009 shows the financial benefits are substantial for participants who remain and complete the program, the press release said.

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