‘This is a blessing’: WHA program helps families achieve self-sufficiency

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Washington Housing Authority and City of Washington’s combined efforts to give families the resources they need to get out of public housing took another step forward last week as another graduate wrapped up their time in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.

The goal of the program is to “elevate family’s income above the poverty level and help them afford a comfortable level of health services,” according to Housing Authority Board Chair Alice Mills-Sadler. Families enrolled in the program are educated on topic such as budgeting, credit, career advancement and childcare.

The Housing Authority opens an escrow account for each participant. Families in public housing programs pay rent based on a percentage of their income, so their rent payment rises as their income increases. When a Self-Sufficiency Program participant’s income rises, the WHA deposits the difference into their escrow account, which helps families save money over time.

Families are given access to their escrow accounts when they graduate from the program. Tiffany Reddick, who graduated last Thursday, received more than $13,000.

“It’s been a journey,” Reddick said. “… I have great employment now to where I’m financially stable. This is a blessing. I’m still in shock. I thank the program for everything it’s done for me.”

“As chairman of the board, we not only commend our staff for what they’ve done to assist you,” Mills-Sadler told Reddick, “But we commend you on your steadfastness to stay in and complete the program and reap the rewards. We hope this will help you and your son continue to have a better life.

City and Housing Authority officials are continuing to shape the future of the program and they’re set to meet later this week to work out some details.

“This (public housing) is not meant to be a permanent situation,” Reddick said.