Grant will help families achieve self-sufficiency
By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Many individuals who are unable to provide housing for themselves and their families often feel trapped, and even though they would like to become independent, do not have the ability and resources to do so. Several Marlborough residents will have an opportunity to change their lives through a $38,000 grant recently awarded to the local Housing Authority by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Housing Director Doug Bushman told the Community Development Authority (CDA) at a recent meeting that he had been notified by HUD that Marlborough was one of three Massachusetts recipients of the special funding that allows grantees to hire a service coordinator to manage the program.
“The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) grant will allow the CDA’s Housing Division to better assist struggling families in Marlborough currently receiving Section 8 housing vouchers who are working to improve their lives by developing the skills necessary to find gainful employment,” said Mayor Arthur Vigeant. “The end goal of this program is to better position individuals and families to become more independent and reduce their overall need for government assistance. I give Housing Director Doug Bushman credit for putting together a great application. This grant will make a positive difference in many lives.”
“The program will officially start in December,” Bushman said. “I am anticipating that before the end of the year, notices will go out to all who are eligible. There are about 130 local families receiving Section 8 vouchers. I am hopeful all will apply,” he said. Participation will be limited to 46 individuals.
Bushman said the search for an FSS coordinator is currently being conducted. The coordinator will work directly with qualified residents to connect them with local organizations that provide education, job training and placement opportunities, along with childcare, counseling, transportation and other services. The coordinator will also provide family members with the support, encouragement and the on-going case management they need in order to take the initiative to follow through on goals listed in their respective contracts.
He said he will be working closely with the mayor and his staff who have implemented a successful jobs program that included a jobs fair, resume workshop, Summer Youth Employment Program and a Public Service Intern Program.
“This is one of the government programs that everyone can support and appreciate,” Bushman said. “It is all about ending people’s reliance on government support programs. This is done by education, training, and most importantly showing the clients that with some effort and hard work they can join the middle class and change their lives for the better,” he said.
HUD measures the success of the FSS program not only by the number of families who achieve self-sufficiency, but also by the number of FSS families who, as a result of participation in the program, have family members who obtain their first job or who obtain higher-paying jobs, no longer need benefits received under one or more welfare programs; obtain a high school diploma or higher education degree; or accomplish similar goals that will assist the whole family in obtaining economic independence.
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