SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – More than a dozen Spartanburg Housing Authority (SHA) residents earned over $92,000 to help them become more self sufficient.
SHA awarded 13 families that are graduating from the Family Self Sufficiency program, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and provides funding for a service coordinator who works directly with residents.
The service coordinator connects the residents to resources in the community.
The checks presented at Thursday’s graduation event ranged from just under $200 to one woman earning more than $29,000 – totalling $92,604.73.
Graduates beamed with pride as they were presented with checks and heard the audience applause inside the CC Woodson Recreaction Center.
Participants sign a 5-year contract requiring the head of household to have a job, and that no member of the household will receive certain types of public assistance at the end of the five-year term.
“These ladies signed a contract with us to reach certain goals that they set,” SHA Business Manager Natalie Smith-Wells said. “Today we’re celebrating that not only did they reach those goals but during that time they were accumulating escrow.”
An interest-bearing escrow account is established for each family.
If successful, the family gets funds from an escrow account that grows with the family’s income.
“It just gives you a lot of time to really think about goals in life for yourself and for your kids,” said FSS program graduate LaCosta Hoover.
The program’s goal is to help families move towards achieving economic independence and housing self sufficiency.
“To help them moving forward with home ownership, purchasing a car, even some of them will begin to help their kids go off to college,” Smith-Wells said.
Officials say average families nearly triple their incomes through the program.
Participants have to also gone through workshops to learn how to handle this extra money.