HUD announces $1.3 million to empower HUD-assisted families in Mississippi towards financial stability

Published 12:58 pm Sunday, February 18, 2024

Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced $1,347,839 to nine public housing agencies (PHAs) in Mississippi for the 2023 Renewal and New Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program grants. The funding is part of nearly $130 million awarded nationwide.

 “Financial literacy, job training and educational opportunities are some of the resources the FSS program connects HUD-assisted families to so that they have the chance to find employment and build assets,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “HUD remains committed to working with our local partners to empower residents and promote economic justice for all Americans.”

“This funding demonstrates HUD’s commitment to advance equity, especially in underserved communities.  This is an opportunity to ensure that the HUD-assisted families we serve have access to financial literacy, on-the-job training, and educational opportunities,” said HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Jennifer Riley Collins. With access to these three key components, families now have an opportunity to achieve financial stability.”

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The FSS program is a voluntary initiative offered to families in HUD-assisted housing. Participants receive coaching and referrals to services and establish a family escrow savings account.

FSS Program Coordinators provide coaching and develop local strategies to connect participating families with public and private resources.

These resources aim to increase their earned income and financial empowerment, reduce, or eliminate the need for welfare assistance, and facilitate progress toward economic independence and self-sufficiency.

The FSS program is the nation’s largest asset-building program for low-income families, funding over 1,450 coordinators next year, who will serve over 69,000 residents in public, voucher and multifamily housing. In 2015, Congress authorized Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) owners to run FSS programs. Last year was the first year that PBRA owners were allowed to apply for funding.

Between last year and this year, HUD has funded 91 new PBRA FSS programs.

Unequal access to savings, negative or invisible credit history and low relative engagement in mainstream banking are national problems that especially impact renters and contribute to the racial wealth gap.

This leaves renters with a minimal safety net to draw from in times of unemployment or unanticipated expenses such as car repair or medical emergencies.

The FSS program helps to keep the unexpected from becoming larger financial problems through savings and support.

A list of the FSS awards can be viewed here for the new awards and the renewal awards.