U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $137,360 in federal funding for the Ithaca Housing Authority in Tompkins County. The funding was allocated through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. The FSS program assists local social services agencies, community colleges, businesses and other local organizations in providing education and job training programs. The program help assist eligible families participating in HUD’s housing voucher program and living in public housing gain marketable job skills, training, educational services and access to job openings in order to become economically self-sufficient.
The Ithaca Housing Authority will work to advise FSS participants on handling long term debt and enable them to reach their final goal of homeownership and maintain employment above the minimum income level and to encourage the parent(s) of these families to maintain employment above the minimum income level.
“These federal funds from the Family Self-Sufficiency program will help the Ithaca Housing Authority provide the education, financial counseling and job training programs needed to help our most vulnerable gain the skills needed to get back on their feet,” said Senator Schumer. “When we help job seekers gain education and marketable job skills we open up pathways to economic opportunity and help those in need to better provide for their families.”
“This federal investment through HUD is a lifeline for hundreds of families in Ithaca,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Access to stable housing is essential for the health of our families and the economic strength of our communities. These federal dollars will help families get the resources they need so they can have a safe place to call home while gaining assistance in acquiring the necessary skills for securing a good-paying job.”
“We are honored to receive this grant award that will enable our FSS Caseworkers to continue providing a high level of service to the families who are eager to increase their financial stability,” said Brenda C. Westfall, Executive Director of the Ithaca Housing Authority. “We are pleased to report that 510 Section 8 participants have participated in the FSS Program since its inception; these participants have been educated on how to achieve economic self-sufficiency and more than 40 have become homeowners. It is exciting to witness the achievements of families who have worked diligently to meet their financial goals and become self-sufficient.”
Since 1991, the Family Self Sufficiency Program (FSS) that is offered at the Ithaca Housing Authority allows families participating in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program an opportunity to achieve economic independence through education, vocational training and career advancement. The FSS program enables families assisted through the Housing Choice Voucher program, and Public Housing residents to increase their earned income and reduce their dependency on welfare assistance and rental subsidies.