The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh has been awarded a federal grant to help the agency connect public housing residents with opportunities for education and upward mobility. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing the $558,545 Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) grant over three years.
The ROSS Service Coordinator Program attempts to encourage local, innovative strategies that link public housing assistance with public and private resources to enable participating families to increase earned income; to reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance; and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.
Michelle Jackson, Chief Community Affairs Officer, says the Housing Authority will take a different approach to this project and focus more on the individual person, “It is very easy to do, what I call, ‘external housing’ and give someone a new house, but you need to address what is happening inside of the house and that relates to making your house a home.”
Public housing residents enrolled in the Family Self-Sufficiency program sign a contract with the agency that includes their responsibilities toward completion of training and employment objectives over a five-year period.
Jackson says the program is designed for the residents to always strive for the best for themselves, “In order for residents to become self-sufficient, to give back to society, and just to feel good about themselves, as well as just moving themselves along through life (everybody does that), and this just enables residents to participate in that American dream.” Jackson added that part of living that “American dream” is purchasing their own home.