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Brattleboro Housing Authority Receives Federal Funding to Help People Be More Independent

The Brattleboro Reformer reports that the Brattleboro Housing Authority was one of three Vermont housing authorities to receive grants through the HUD Family Self-Sufficiency Program. These grants allow residents to receive assistance in achieving goals that lead to self-sufficiency. Below is an excerpt from the article:

A federal program is aiming to make a difference by propelling people towards a better future. The Brattleboro Housing Authority was one of three housing authorities in Vermont to receive grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program. Residents in public housing and Section 8 programming are eligible to receive assistance in finding jobs or returning to school in order to reach certain goals. “It’s really oriented around work and getting the tools necessary to get work in the field that they’re interested in,” said BHA Executive Director Christine Hart. “One of the most important parts of the program is that in public housing and Section 8, when your income goes up, your rents goes up. So there’s an unfortunate built-in disincentive to work because your rent goes up.” Through the program, that increase in rent instead goes into an escrow account until the participant reaches their goals. Then they have access to the money. According to Hart, the BHA has a minimum of 75 participants in the program at any given time. So far, three families have left the program and purchased homes with the money they had saved. “Right now, we have residents that have escrow balances from a low of $9 — so somebody who just started — to $10,000,” said Hart. “And we have five current participants with balances over $1,000.” So it’s no wonder why Hart says her organization is “very pleased to be refunded” for the fifth year in a row. The grants are awarded on an annual basis. “I think that speaks well of our program and that should be an incentive for people to apply,” said Hart. “It can be a huge help to a family or anybody.”

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