Wichita’s housing program received a $173,416 grant last week from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The grant, which helps low-income families become self-sufficient, renews funding for the Family Self-Sufficiency program. In the program, the city’s housing department works with welfare agencies, schools, businesses and other partners to help families become financially independent of public housing assistance.
Families that use federal Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers to help with rent payments are eligible. Participants are encouraged to set goals, such as employment, education and home ownership.
The program also includes a financial incentive that rewards participants for improving their financial position. As their income increases, participants can accumulate money in an escrow account – money that would have originally been applied to increasing rent rates. If program participants complete a five-year self-improvement plan, they receive the money in the escrow account.
Last year, 10 clients graduated from the program, with seven accumulating escrow accounts. The program serves about 200 people a year.