The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso announced Wednesday that they have been awarded two federal grants totaling more than $330,000 in funding to house non-elderly persons with disabilities and to support education and employment among HUD-assisted families.
“Putting people on the path to self-sufficiency by connecting them with employment and educational opportunities will help put them on a path to success,” said HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon. “We are grateful to HUD for once again selecting HACEP as a recipient of funding from the FSS Program.”
The first grant, totaling $116,390 under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program, is intended to help residents of public housing authorities and voucher-assisted housing to increase their earned income and reduce their dependency on public assistance and rental subsidies.
HUD’s FSS Program helps HACEP employ a Service Coordinator to work directly with residents and connect them with employment and education programs and services.
Participants in the program sign a five-year contract of participation requiring the head of the household to set specific goals and achievements allowed under the FSS Program. To successfully graduate, the head of household must be employed and no member of the FSS family may have received cash welfare assistance for twelve months prior to program graduation.
Families in the FSS program have an interest-bearing escrow account established for them. The amount credited to the family’s escrow account is based on increases rent due to improvement in the family’s earned income during the term of the FSS contract. Upon successful graduation, the head of household receives the escrow funds are able to apply those funds to advance their personal circumstances, including, for example, paying educational expenses or making a down-payment on a home.
HUD has also awarded HACEP with 50 additional Mainstream vouchers, totaling $223,962, which assist to house non-elderly persons with disabilities. In 2020, HACEP was awarded 75 mainstream vouchers as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“This additional CARES Act funding is necessary and welcomed as our community continues to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19,” Cichon said. “CARES funding has helped HACEP prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”