Family Self-Sufficiency Program
In January, 1993, the Waynesboro Redevelopment and Housing Authority began implementing the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program as a means of promoting and encouraging the concept of resident self-sufficiency. Open to Public Housing residents and Housing Choice Voucher participants, the FSS Program helps participants break the cycle of dependence and move toward financial independence.
The FSS Coordinator collaborates with the Program Coordinating Committee, a group of volunteers from public and private agencies and organizations, too develop an individual service plan for each participant. This plan is the participant’s road map to financial independence.
As a means of achieving self-sufficiency, participants are required to formulate a series of goals they wish to accomplish, after which they review the service plan and sign a Contract of Participation, agreeing to abide by the plan and complete all requirements within five (5) years.
An escrow savings account is established for each participant as an incentive to follow their plan and achieve their goals. Each month, a portion of their rent is credited to the account; as a participant’s rent increases, so does the amount of the monthly escrow credit. The participant receives the balance of the escrow account upon successful completion of the program. Participants may use the funds for any purpose, though they are encouraged to put the funds toward homeownership or to move from public to private rental housing.
In FY 2003, 68 families participated in the program, 59% were employed either full or part-time and 50% of those employed established escrow accounts totaling $43,000.00. Six (6) participants graduated receiving over $7,000.00 in escrow funds.
Building Blocks Learning Center
As the Authority embarked on implementing the Family Self-Sufficiency Program in 1993, a common b arrier among assisted housing residents was the lack of a high school diploma and no source of affordable day care. Upon investigation, Authority staff found there was no day time GED instruction offered in the City of Waynesboro. To overcome this impasse, the Authority partnered with the Waynesboro Department of Social Services and the Adult Learning Center to create the Building Blocks Learning Center. The Center offers transportation, structured GED instruction and child care with age appropriate education on one (1) site. The Center is open to any resident of the city and surrounding communities. During FY 2003, 166 individuals attended the Building Blocks Learning Center. Of those attending, thirty (30) improved their job skills and became employed and ten (10) received their GED.