This Month’s Proposal
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Pittsburg Traditional Housing Projects, Inc. Home Empowerment Program
1. Agency Contact Information
Pittsburg Transitional Housing Projects, Inc.
NAME, Executive Director
2. Program Summary
Pittsburg Traditional Housing Projects, Inc. is requesting $25,000 from the Realtor Housing Assistance Fund to support its Home Empowerment Program (HEP) by funding the rental subsidy component of the program. The HEP is a 9-month mandatory program for household heads living in the Pittsburg Traditional Housing Co-op, a 24- month transitional housing program for homeless families. The purpose of the HEP program is two-fold. First, the program is designed to help residents become financially astute and solvent while in transitional housing through instructor facilitated and independent instruction. The second purpose is to provide an incentive of a rental subsidy to those residents who successfully complete the program and find suitable permanent housing. The money will be used to pay the deposit for permanent housing or to pay the first and last month’s rent for permanent housing.
Residents enrolled in the HEP attend a series of on-going training modules over a 9- month time frame. In the 40 hour in-house Debt Reduction module, residents learn to become wise consumers of credit; learn techniques to build or rebuild their credit; how to save money; how to develop a spending plan and long-term financial goals; and tips on how to reduce debt. The in-house GED module offers residents the opportunity to increase their earning power and raise their self-esteem by earning a General Equivalency Diploma. Residents are also able to attend off site job readiness training programs. In the Computer Based Technology module, participants are able to enhance their computer literacy skills giving them a competitive edge in the job market. Participants are exposed to different kinds of computer software; they are able to complete on-line job applications and search for permanent housing. This module includes the FDIC “Money Smart-Financial Education Curriculum,” delivered by volunteers from Bank of America. Residents can complete weekly and monthly budgets and understand the difference between income and expenses.
In a 2-hour seminar, through a partnership with a local banking institution, residents are given information and consideration for reestablishing or opening checking and/or savings accounts. This seminar supplements information in the Debt Reduction module by reinforcing the concepts of balancing a checkbook and saving a percentage of income.
The 4-hour Housing module teaches residents how to read a lease agreement and how to systematically look for permanent housing. In this module, residents are offered one-on-one assistance to ensure that that they have adequate information so they can determine the amount of rent they are able to pay, they are to told to how to investigate the geographic area of the city where they want to live, they are shown how to determine if public transportation is adequate and what amenities are available in the neighborhood.
The full scope of the program provides the tools for the resident to gain self-sufficiency financially, emotionally and psychologically.
3. Summary of Program Benefits
Lack of affordable housing, substance abuse, lack of needed services, low paying jobs, domestic violence and poverty are just some of the causes of homelessness. In Pittsburg, as in other major cities in the United States, attempts have been made to move individuals from emergency shelters into permanent housing. Pittsburg Transitional Housing Co-op eases the burden of homelessness by providing a safe, clean and nurturing living environment where residents learn life skills through on-site seminars and staff instruction so they can permanently exit homelessness. Between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010, Pittsburg Transitional Housing Co-op served 64 culturally diverse families. Of the 64 families served, 36 or 56% left the program for a housing opportunity. Of the families who left the program, 27 or 75% had a significant increase in income and for 21 or 58% of them, the income was from gainful employment. 30 of the families maintained market-rate housing for 12 months or longer. The typical family arriving at the Pittsburg Transitional Housing Co-op is headed by an African-American single female with less than 12 years of formal education. She usually has three children.
4. Program Importance
In many cases, individuals are unable to maintain individual market-rate housing because they lack the skills to effectively manage their resources. Because of low-wage paying jobs, they struggle to pay the rent and maintain the household. They often become homeless again because they are unable to pay rent, pay utilities, lose the opportunity for employment for lack of a permanent address and means of communication. Participation in the Home Empowerment Program (HEP) provides tools to the participant to overcome these barriers. The long term goal of HEP is to eliminate homelessness or at the very least “knock down some of the doors” that are known to cause homelessness. Participation in the Home Empowerment Program (HEP) has a sustained impact in helping individuals to become self-sufficient and to maintain permanent housing.
5. Program Implementation
Since its inception, the Pittsburg Transitional Housing Co-op has assisted homeless families to effectively transition to and maintain permanent housing by offering intensive and comprehensive case management services and programs. No additional time is needed for program implementation because residents currently participate in HEP classes. Your contribution to the HEP will provide the financial assistance residents of the Pittsburg Transitional Housing Co-op need once they secure permanent housing.
6. Funding Requested
Pittsburg Transitional Housing Projects. Inc. is requesting $25,000 from the Realtor Housing Assistance Fund to support at a minimum 25 families who successfully complete the Home Empowerment Program classes over the next two years with “seed money” for permanent housing. The monies would be used to subsidize deposits for permanent housing or to pay first and last month’s rents for appropriate permanent housing.