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WCHA’s FSS program receives HUD grant

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced the awarding of a $325,479 FY-2024 grant to the Westmoreland County Housing Authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program.

For the fourth year in a row, WCHA received the third highest funded FSS program in the state, behind only the City of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia housing authorities.

The WCHA FSS program has proven to be a vital steppingstone for increasing economic opportunity for HUD-assisted families so they can obtain regular employment and lead productive independent lives.

HUD defines “self-sufficiency” as a household’s ability to maintain financial, housing, and personal/family stability.

WCHA’s FSS program creates an interest-bearing escrow/saving account for each eligible family. Any increases in the family’s rent as a result of increased earned income during the family’s participation in the program result in a credit to the family’s escrow account. Once a family graduates from the program, they may access the escrow and use it for any purpose.

In 2023, 180 tenants participated and 26 successfully completed the FSS program. Of those participants, 15 attended educational and training programs. The year ended with 154 participants obtaining employment: 49 part-time and 105 full-time.

Another aspect of the FSS program is that participants are offered opportunities to own their own home. Since the program’s inception in 2006, 78 Westmoreland County families have become homeowners.

“Our FSS program continues to be a leader in our industry.  FSS serves as a vital resource in assisting participants on their path to become self-sufficient,” explained WCHA Chief Executive Director Michael L. Washowich. “I want to commend WCHA’s FSS staff for their efforts and the efforts of all the program participants.”

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