1/02/2020 — 

PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced that nearly a dozen housing authorities across Rhode Island are receiving a total of $1,056,787 in federal funding to continue operating their Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) programs in 2020.

The federally funded Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program helps local Housing Authorities implement strategies to help assisted housing residents find work, access job-training resources, and achieve financial independence. 

The Family Self-Sufficiency program enables local Housing Authorities to employ FSS Coordinators, who help clients get firmly on their feet and develop a plan and connect them with services -- including child care, transportation, education, job-training, employment, and counseling -- to help them achieve their goals.

Clients in the Family Self-Sufficiency program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), have escrow accounts administered and funded by the Housing Authority.  As they progress through the program and earn gainful, sustainable employment, FSS clients pay larger shares of their monthly rent.  Meanwhile, the Housing Authorities deposit a portion of these increased rent payments into clients’ interest-bearing escrow accounts to boost their savings.  At the end of the program, clients who succeed may use their nest egg towards necessities that allow them to continue making progress toward achieving economic independence.

“The Family Self-Sufficiency Program is an effective initiative that uplifts individuals and communities.  It delivers results by helping people set goals and provides the mentorship, tools, and support to achieve them.  This is a smart investment in helping participants gain skills and increase their earning power so that participants can achieve financial independence,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), which oversees federal spending for HUD programs.

“This federal investment will help Rhode Islanders develop the skills to become financially independent and achieve their goals,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Well done to Senator Reed who has for decades delivered funding for programs that lift up Rhode Island communities.”

“Stagnant wages and rising housing costs are forcing many vulnerable families across Rhode Island to make impossible choices,” said Congressman Langevin.  “We need to continue to support the growth and independence of Rhode Islanders in need through initiatives like the Family Self-Sufficiency Program to make our state stronger.  I am proud to have worked with my Congressional colleagues to support this critical funding that will make a difference for residents who want to succeed and are seeking support and guidance to do so.”

“Far too many hardworking families are faced with a difficult choice: keep a roof over their heads or put food on the table. This needs to end,” said Congressman David N. Cicilline.  “While we work across all levels of government to ensure that wage growth continues to keep pace with rising housing costs, we must also make sure that folks have the resources they need to pay their rent and feed their kids.  These critical federal funds will deliver much needed assistance to housing authorities throughout our state that are working to do just that.  I’m proud of our work in the Federal Delegation to secure these funds, and I look forward to continuing our efforts at the federal level to bring home valuable resources like these to Rhode Island.”

“Providence Housing Authority is now serving nearly 200 of our residents through the FSS program to promote opportunity for our families as they set and achieve career, educational and financial goals,” said Melissa Sanzaro, Executive Director of the Providence Housing Authority.  “We are grateful for the support of Senator Reed and our entire federal delegation for this funding and we look forward to the work together with the other Housing Authority grantees to build viable communities across Rhode Island.”

In 2018, Congress enacted the bipartisan Family Self-Sufficiency Act, which combined the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher FSS programs to enhance opportunities for residents and better connect them with the services they need, a streamlining effort authored by Senator Reed. 

Those receiving the HUD Public Housing Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program awards announced today include:

  • Providence Housing Authority: $219,159
  • Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation: $207,693
  • Pawtucket Housing Authority: $152,078
  • Narragansett Housing Authority: $76,039
  • Town of Cumberland Housing Authority: $74,576.
  • Central Falls Housing Authority: $70,871
  • East Providence Housing Authority: $66,745
  • Housing Authority of the Town of East Greenwich: $65,473
  • Town of Coventry Housing Authority: $60,814
  • Warwick Housing Authority: $43,296
  • Town of North Providence Housing Authority: $20,043

Total: $1,056,787