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Success Stories - Welfare to Work Vouchers

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 -   Achieving Self-Sufficiency in Leesburg, VA
 -   Moving Closer to Opportunity with the WtW Voucher Program in Phoenix, AZ
 -   Achieving the American Dream with the WtW Voucher Program in Santa Clara County, CA
 -   Using the WtW Voucher to Find Safe and Affordable Housing in Chicago, IL
 -   Working Toward Self-sufficiency in Austin, TX
 -   Using Employment Resources to Achieve Success in Newark, NJ
 -   Using WtW and FSS to Achieve Self-Sufficiency in The Dalles, OR
 -   Coordinating Supportive Services through the FSS Program to Obtain Self-Sufficiency in Las Vegas

Bringing resources together to achieve self-sufficiency
Agency: Loudon County Housing Services Leesburg, VA

Jamal H. is a 28 year-old head of household for a family of seven. The family was issued a WtW voucher in June 2000. On August 1, 2000, they were able to rent an apartment in a complex in Ashburn, Virginia, where they are now receiving rental assistance through the WtW voucher program.

Prior to entering the WtW voucher program, Jamal and his wife were struggling to pay their rent, utilities, and other bills. Because of insufficient funds to purchase a car, transportation was also a problem and left Jamal without a reliable way to get to work. Jamal also lacked the money to enroll in a training program that would help him to develop more marketable skills needed to support his family.

As a result of the WtW voucher program and coordination with other assistance, the family's financial circumstances are much improved. Since entering the WtW voucher program, Jamal has earned a certificate for Web development and is starting a program for e-commerce. He has also maintained full-time employment and enrolled in the Family Self-sufficiency (FSS) program. Through the efforts of his FSS counselor, Jamal has obtained a car from "The Car Ministry" in Falls Church, VA. He has also received help from the Employment and Training Section of Loudon County Social Services. The social services office made arrangements for Jamal's training and obtained a computer for him. (Before he received his WtW voucher, that same agency helped to keep the family from becoming homeless.)

As of December 2000, the family still receives Medicaid for the children, but no other public assistance. They are now able to pay their bills, are working to improve their credit, and are striving toward the final FSS program goal of homeownership. Jamal has also been offered a job at a computer firm where he will be able to use his new skills and increase his income.

For more information please contact: Stuart Shatz at (703) 777-0389.

Moving closer to opportunity
Agency: Phoenix (AZ) Housing Department

Anna L. is a 20 year-old single parent of two children. She was referred to the Phoenix Housing Authority's Welfare to Work (WtW) voucher program by the State's TANF program. In July, 2000, Anna used the voucher to find a decent, safe apartment that is close to the city's public transportation system and within walking distance of her childcare center. She pays $354 per month of the $700 rent.

Anna initially found a temporary job that paid $6.56 an hour. Her income has since increased by 59 percent to $10.45 per hour. She is now free of welfare assistance and works full time for the City of Phoenix as a Customer Service Clerk. Anna has also enrolled in the Housing Authority's Family Self-sufficiency program and is taking computer courses to make her more competitive for advancement opportunities.

Anna credits her success to the Welfare to Work voucher program. She says, "I never would have been able to do any of this without the Welfare to Work voucher - living in a nice apartment close to daycare and the bus to get to work."

For more information, please contact: Peggy Martin at (602) 261-8621.

Achieving the American dream
Agency: Santa Clara County Housing Authority

Phong L. is a Vietnamese immigrant who came to the United States to escape adverse conditions in his country. He is now trying to build a better life with his family in Santa Clara County. He, his wife, and two teenage children have used their WtW voucher to "lease in place." They began to receive rental assistance in July 2000.

When Phong came to the United States, he lacked proficiency in the English language and important skills for the American workforce. Phong enrolled in a community college to take English and electronic assembly classes and completed a series of WtW money management workshops. He has also enrolled in the Family Self-sufficiency Program.

Since the start of Phong's participation in the WtW voucher program, he has earned an associates degree in Electronics Assembly and now has a basic command of the English language. He is no longer receiving welfare assistance and is working full-time as an electronics assembler making $10/hour.

Phong hopes that he and his family will be able to purchase a new home within the next few years, and credits his progress to the assistance he received through the WtW Voucher Program.

For more information about Santa Clara's WtW activities, view our Learning From Each Other case study on Santa Clara's program.

For more information, please contact: Sandi Douglas at (408) 572-4200.

Using the wtw voucher to find safe and affordable housing
Agency: CHAC, Inc. (MetroLinks Program Partner)

Cartina M., a 27 year-old single parent, was issued a WtW voucher on June 30, 2000. At that time, Cartina was living in a high crime area with a 52 percent poverty rate. Like others in her neighborhood, she was struggling to pay rent and make ends meet.

In October 2000, she moved to a condominium in Oak Park, a desirable suburban area, where she receives rental assistance through the WtW voucher program. The move reduced her commute to work by 1½ hours each way. The move has also allowed her to concentrate on improving her life instead of worrying about her safety and her daughter's. She earns $7.00 per hour working as a pricing clerk at Montgomery Ward's jewelry department.

In November 2000, Cartina M. joined CHAC's Family Self-sufficiency program. Her goals are to earn her GED and receive computer training. Cartina is grateful that she can now focus on her future and credits her success to the location, safety, and convenience of her new home.

For more information about CHAC's WtW activities, view our Learning From Each Other case studies on CHAC's resource room and FSS program.

For more information, please contact: Jennifer O'Neil (312) 886-9400 ext. 4274

Working toward self-sufficiency
Agency: Housing Authority of the City of Austin

Marcela M. is a 23-year-old single mother of two. She has been an active participant in the Welfare to Work Voucher program, Austin Works Together project, and Central East Austin Community Organization (CEACO) since the spring of 2000.

Since her enrollment in these programs she has maintained full-time employment and remained active in her community through volunteer work in the local elementary school. In May 2000, she was given a "Certificate of Appreciation" from the elementary school for her services, and she was further honored for her work at a CEACO Fiesta in June 2000.

For more information, please contact: Greg Harrick (512) 474-5636.

Using Employment Resources to Achieve Success
Agency: The Newark Housing Autority (NHA)

While the NHA Employment Center boasts many examples of participant success, two participant stories are highlighted here. For more information about this program, view our Learning From Each Other story on NHA's employment services.

Tasha S. is one of the first participants of NHA's Job Literacy Program. After enduring a turbulent and abusive childhood, Tasha wanted a new beginning with steady employment and better care for her children. Soon after starting the class, Tasha accepted a job with the New York Athletic Club as a housekeeper. Since then she has been working as a county court clerk officer. Currently she is looking forward to a law enforcement career and is scheduled to take her exam later this year.

Hasan M. is a single father with sole custody of his toddler son. Hasan's life was previously characterized with gang activity and life on the streets. Upon entering the Job Literacy Program, he expressed a desire to make an honest living and care for his toddler son. While in the NHA program, Hasan received his GED and began working. After working several temporary assignments, Hasan was hired permanently at a large pharmaceutical company. He has since expressed interest in attending community college to further his education.

For more information, please contact: Donnell Brown, (973) 273-6231.

Using WtW and FSS to Achieve Self-Sufficiency Agency: Mid-Columbia Housing Authority (the Dalles, Or)

Tina, with help from WtW and the FSS program, was able to move from dependency to self-sufficiency. The Mid-Columbia HA, in conjunction with the WorkFirst Agency in Washington State, worked with Tina to obtain employment at the Interpretive Center. She received on-the-job training, and after a few months, Tina was promoted to a higher position at the center. Tina now manages and trains other employees. She also graduated the FSS program with $7,000 in her escrow account, which she used to put a down payment on a new house.

For more information about Mid-Columbia's WtW program, view our Learning From Each Other story on Mid-Columbia's successful partnership with TANF agencies and local service providers.

For more information, please contact Ruby Mason, Executive Director at (541) 296-5462 , or
Tamara Wherer, WtW/FSS Coordinator at (541) 296-5462

Coordinating Supportive Services through the FSS Program to Obtain Self-Sufficiency Agency: Las Vegas Housing Authority (LVHA)

Ms. H. Mack enrolled in the City of Las Vegas Housing Authority/FSS program on April 1, 2000. Ms. Mack is the grandmother/guardian of two children and works full time as a certified Nursing Assistant. She completed her FSS goals and graduated as a homeowner in January 2002. She purchased a 3-bedroom home on the East Side of Las Vegas for $89,000 with down payment assistance from EOB Homeownership Funds and her own personal savings of $1,000. Ms. Mack used LIHEA for help with her utility payments, FIT for financial aide with her education, Nevada Check-Up for medical coverage for her grandchildren, and EOB Homeownership to purchase her home. Ms. Mack demonstrates how strategic coordination of FSS resources can lead to self-sufficiency.

For more information about LVHA's FSS program, view our Learning From Each Other case study.

For more information, please contact Deloris Sawyer, PO Box 1897, Las Vegas, NV 89125, delorissawyer@hotmail.com
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