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Posted on November 30, 2012 | 3:25 p.m.

Housing Authority Program Helps Local Families Achieve ‘Self-Sufficiency’

Source: Danielle Deltorchio for the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara

On Nov. 15, the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara honored the latest wave of inspiring residents who have completed the organization’s Family Self-Sufficiency program.

The Housing Authority celebrated the FSS participants and their families with a ceremony featuring inspiring speeches, dinner and dessert hosted at the Chase Palm Park Center.

The Housing Authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency program is an initiative designed to help move families receiving housing assistance and related government subsidies to a more independent lifestyle, free of governmental assistance and including socio-economic advancement, college degrees, professional careers and first-time home ownership.

“Our Family Self-Sufficiency graduations mark a high point for these inspiring individuals and families that has required years of perseverance and commitment,” said Rob Fredericks, deputy executive director and chief administrative officer of the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara. “Thanks to the commitment of our Program Coordinating Committee, the graduates have been able to acquire the education and skill set necessary to become independent of governmental assistance and self-sufficient and we are appreciative of their efforts.”

The current group of graduates has received more than $77,829 through the FSS escrow program, bringing the total of program graduates to 218 individuals, of which 46 are now homeowners. From the time the families enroll in FSS to the time they graduate, families literally triple their income, saving government funding and recycling tax dollars.

To enable FSS participants to achieve self-sufficiency, the Housing Authority partners with a group of community agencies. The Program Coordinating Committee is comprised of representatives of the Department of Rehabilitation, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Montecito Bank & Trust, SBCC Continuing Education, the Employment Development Department, Workforce Investment Act, New Beginnings Counseling Center, the World Financial Group, the California Rural Legal Assistance Center, the Department of Social Services and Women’s Economic Ventures.

This network of service providers offers program vision and coordination, life-skills, entrepreneurial training, financial literacy workshops, academic counseling, vocational rehabilitation, family counseling and job placement.

— Danielle Deltorchio is a publicist representing the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara.

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