Community Action Helps People Attain Self-Sufficiency

Jane had been struggling to find and maintain employment. In the summer of 2006, she began utilizing the HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, which is operated by Washington Morgan Counties Community Action (WMCAP). This program is vital to the community and provides low-income residents the support they need to maintain affordable safe housing. Through the HUD Section 8 Program, participants are offered the option of participating in the Family Self Sufficiency Program (FSS). This option enables participants to obtain and grow an escrow account as an incentive to obtaining higher income and moving towards self sufficiency.

After being on the HUD program for a few years, the FSS case manager worked with Jane to enroll her in the FSS program in the summer of 2011. The FSS coordinator worked with her to verify eligibility for local community resources to ensure that Jane was receiving the support services that were vital for self sufficiency.

The case manager worked with Jane to create a stability plan and outline attainable goals for the future. FSS participants work very closely with the case managers to ensure that goals are being worked towards.  Not long after enrolling in FSS, Jane was offered a job at a large department store. This was her first job that she had been able to retain for longer than a year. Due to the demands of the customers and the additional sales, her supervisor increased her hours at work. With the raise in income, she began earning a significant amount of money in her FSS escrow account.

This past winter Jane’s car began having problems with the battery and she needed new tires, but she did not have the money to pay for these extra expenses. She was having difficulty getting back and forth to work and was in danger of losing her employment due to transportation issues. Since she was an active participant in the FSS program and was earning escrow, WMCAP was able to let her borrow money from her account to help her purchase these items.

Had she not been able to fix her car, she would not have had a way to work, which would have led to her termination. By partaking in the FSS program she was able to make the necessary purchases to fix her car and sustain her employment. Jane continues to work with the FSS case manager on goal attainment and recertifying eligibility of community resources. She looks forward to the day when she can fully obtain self sufficiency and move off of the HUD Section 8 Program.

For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.