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Santa Monica Families Honored for Hard Work  

By Lookout Staff

April 6, 2011 --Eleven deserving Santa Monica families will celebrate their completion of the Family Self-Suffiency (FSS) Program Wednesday at the Annenberg Community Beach House.

The program, created by the federal Housing and Urban Development Department in 1990, gives low-income families a chance to learn job skills to get the work they need and save money in an escrow account, breaking the cycle of poverty.

The families spend five years working with caseworkers who help them set goals and find work. As the family's income increases, their rent does – but under this program, a portion of that increase goes into an escrow account which the family then receives after five years.

This year's graduates have amassed over $150,000 all told.

“The FSS Program is an excellent way to help families move up the economic ladder toward financial independence,” said Jody Gilbert, the Santa Monica Housing Authority's (SMHA's) family self-sufficiency coordinator.

“This year’s graduates, like the ones before them for the past 14 years, are powerful role models for their children and the next generation,” Gilbert said.

The City of Santa Monica’s Human Services Division provides funding to the St. Joseph Center which works with the families, giving them access to case managers, employment counseling, credit counseling and job training. Together, they set goals and then help the families reach economic self-sufficiency.

The SMHA is hosting the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) Graduation Ceremony which will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Annenberg Beach House Garden Tea Room at 415 Pacific Coast Highway.

The event is made possible through the support of the City of Santa Monica and the St. Joseph Center. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds the Section 8 and FSS Program. Back on Broadway donated their services to celebrate the families who are graduating.


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