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Danville Housing Authority to provide more support services with $168K grant

 

The Housing Authority of Danville has been awarded a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The $168,850 grant will help support its work to assist public housing residents to become more self-sufficient through the efforts of its service coordinator.

Danville Housing Authority Executive Director Tim Kitts said in an email, “We — the housing authority board of commissioners and myself — are super-excited about this news.”

Last week, a total of $36 million was awarded across the U.S. through HUD’s Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency-Service Coordinators program (ROSS-SC). This was the second time Kitts had attempted to receive the grant since coming to Danville, he said. Only four Kentucky organizations were chosen for the award.

“Shortly after I came to the Housing Authority of Danville in October of 2016, I saw the need of bringing on a staff person that would not only connect with our residents, but would also bring in community partners to provide additional resources and services to our residents.”

Even though the Housing Authority had budget restraints, the board decided to invest in a resident services coordinator. And in early 2018, Gwendalyn Campbell was “brought on board,” as the local resident services coordinator, Kitts said.

“That initial step of faith provided a pathway for us to even be able to apply for this grant,” Kitts said.

The ROSS-SC will provide the salary, administrative and training costs for Campbell. “This position specifically assesses the needs of residents and links them to supportive services that enable participants to move along a continuum toward self-sufficiency. In the case of elderly or disabled residents, the service coordinator links them to supportive services which enables them to age in place.”

Kitts said the grant requires agencies to have at least 25% of the requested amount in matching funds or in-kind services. “Through our partnerships, we have an in-kind match of over 130%. Our community partners have really jumped onboard with our mission and vision,” he said.

A few of the services that the grant and resident services coordinator provide will include more career coaching, soft-skills training, financial workshops, credit health education, transportation, nutrition courses and smoke-free classes.

In a news release from HUD Secretary Ben Carson, he said, “Connecting families with the resources they need to invest in themselves gives them the opportunity to become self-sufficient. HUD is proud to give our local partners the resources they need to help their residents reach the next level.”

“The ROSS-SC supports local, innovative strategies that link housing assistance with public and private resources to enable participating families to increase their earned income; reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance; and make progress toward achieving economic independence and house self-sufficiency,” the release stated. “Through needs assessments, case management and referrals to community and web-based services, service coordinators help each participant advance toward these goals in ways that best fits their needs, personal priorities and interests.”

Kitts said, “As our agency strives to give hope with whatever circumstance our residents may have, this grant is just another piece of the puzzle to make that a reality. My goal is to be much more than a landlord in our community.”