For Immediate Release Please: April 28, 2021
Contact: Odessa Walker, Director of Human Services
815-489-8712 – Phone
815-299-8428 – Cell
HUD AWARDS $2,300,000 MILLION DOLLARS TO HELP ROCKFORD HOUSING AUTHORITY’S PUBLIC HOUSING RESIDENTS SECURE EMPLOYMENT AND HIGHER-PAYING JOBS
“It is with great pleasure that we announce today that the Jobs Plus Grant Award of $2,300,000 has been awarded to the Rockford Housing Authority,” states, Laura Snyder, CEO, of the Rockford Housing Authority. The comprehensive nature of the Rockford Housing Authority’s Jobs Plus Grant program has established partnerships with key social service agencies within the Rockford community. With over fifty-three strategic community partnerships, RHA will strengthen program planning and implementation and streamline access to services for RHA resident participants. RHA plays a unique and pivotal role in supporting, developing, and expanding opportunities for workforce education, and employment opportunities, through the Lifeforce Development Institute. “Through the Jobs Plus grant, we will create an equitable future for our residents that will allow employers and our community to thrive,” continues, Ms. Snyder.
The new RHA Jobs Plus Program will develop locally-based, job-driven approaches to increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement, skills development, and financial literacy for our public housing residents. “This place-based program supports economic resilience for our residents by incentivizing and enabling employment through ‘income disregards’ for working families, benefitting the entire community, and supporting a culture of work,” observes Odessa Walker, Director of Human Services.
Over 71 % of RHA residents have earned incomes that qualify as very low income. The Rockford Housing Authority RHA Jobs Plus Program will incorporate strategies to develop a locally-based culture of work for the residents living in the targeted public housing community. “The grant, along with our vital partners, which has specific assignments, creates the stage to attack poverty on so many levels and change the quality of life for families. This is the hand-up approach RHA embraces for all families we serve. Empowerment is our middle name.” states Odessa Walker. Collaborating with the Workforce Development Board, The Rockford Workforce Connection, and other key strategic partners will help to overcome several barriers to gainful employment for our residents. Currently, over 50% of the RHA residents at the target sites have no earned income. “Providing resources so that public housing residents can achieve economic and housing stability is an important part of HUD’s mission,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “HUD is committed to empowering and working with our local partners to help residents reach their goals and uplift their families.” Additional services that will be provided by the RHA Jobs Plus Program will include childcare services, transportation assistance, financial literacy workshops, and Life Skills. The program is expected to support a culture of work that leads to a sustainable career ladder of employment, at a living wage for all work-able eligible residents. “I am excited not only for the residents of RHA and our team but also for the city of Rockford. With this grant and through our partnerships, we have built a collective impact approach that will bring education, job readiness programming, and job training to individuals who are eager to join the workforce or enhance their current employment,” concludes Laura Snyder.
About the Rockford Housing Authority
The Rockford Housing Authority (RHA) is a municipal corporation established under Chapter 67 1/2 of the Illinois statutes. It is governed by a Board of five (5) Commissioners. The Rockford Housing Authority has historically served the housing needs of persons whose income is low and very low in the City of Rockford through HUD funded public and Section 8 housing. RHA has provided “decent, safe, and sanitary” low-income public housing to Rockford’s citizens for decades.
Bridge Rockford Alliance, Inc. (BRaI), 501(C)(3) HUD recognized instrumentality of RHA, was established by resolution of the RHA Board of Commissioners on March 9, 2011. BRAI extends the services and opportunities of a public housing agency. Instrumentalities allow the housing authority to operate more as private organizations and expand opportunities for residents of affordable housing, housing developments and the related supporting activities i.e. health and human services. This broader reach provides BRAI the authority to seek out and enter into new business relationships as a means to support its mission.
The Rockford Housing Authority, alongside Bridge Rockford Alliance, is in transition from a provider of decent safe and sanitary housing to the leading provider of housing that meets a higher community vision.
Learn more about the Lifeforce Development Institute at www.launchmyfuture.com
Learn more about the Rockford Housing Authority at www.rockfordha.org