The Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $78 million to hundreds of public housing authorities across the country. Funds will help put HUD-assisted residents on the path to self-sufficiency. Among the recipients was Winnebago County Housing Authority (WCHA). NI ReACH manages the programs for WCHA, and will use the funds for the organization’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program.

The Family Self-Sufficiency Program connects residents to existing programs and services in the community with the help of a NI ReACH service coordinator. These resources address jobs, transportation, child care and more with the goal of helping residents achieve economic independence . The program requires a 5-year contract of participation from participants. During this time, as the resident moves up and earns more income, the amount they would normally pay in increased rent goes into an escrow account held by NI ReACH. At the end of the five years, participants are able to apply the escrow funds toward an approved goal. Goals could include purchasing a vehicle, funding educational expenses, or making a down payment on a home.

“We know that our residents have needs beyond housing and our programs like the Family Self-Sufficiency have been successful,” shared Alan Zais, Executive Director of NI ReACH. “We are grateful to HUD for the additional funding and look forward to continuing this and other strong support programs.”