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Federal agency awards Arizona $1.4M to support public housing residents

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PHOENIX — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $74 million to public housing authorities nationwide, with more than $1.4 million going to Arizona.

The money will help public housing residents increase their income and reduce dependence on subsidies, the agency said last week in a press release.

“One of the most important things we can do as public servants is to help HUD-assisted families achieve their dreams,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in the release.

“Working with our local partners, HUD is connecting families to educational opportunities, job training, childcare and other resources that allow them to get higher paying jobs and, ultimately, become self-sufficient.”

Twelve agencies in Arizona were awarded the money, including:

  • City of Tempe Housing Services: $51,455
  • Housing Authority of Maricopa County: $69,380
  • City of Chandler: $124,548
  • City of Phoenix Housing Department: $208,139
  • City of Mesa: $69,100
  • City of Scottsdale Housing Agency: $69,100

Public housing residents who sign up for the Family Self-Sufficiency program must have heads of household obtain employment and refrain from using public assistance for five years.

If they succeed, they receive money placed in an escrow account based on their income over the term.

According to the release, families in the program nearly tripled their income on average, with a starting income of around $10,000 increasing to $27,000 by the end.

“It’s not often that a government program creates incentives that support families moving toward greater self-sufficiency, while also benefiting the local housing authority and the public coffers,” Jimmy Stracner, HUD regional administrator, said in the release.

“A recent cost-benefit analysis of a local Family Self-Sufficiency program revealed that over five years it achieved just that – saving tax payers nearly as much as it cost them and netting an average of over $10,300 per participant to help them along that journey.”

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