HUD Region II Regional Administrator Lynne Patton visited the Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth's (HACE) Mravlag Manor Community Center to announce a $2.3 million investment to help public housing families increase their earned income and become self-sufficient. HUD Regional Administrator Patton presented a ceremonial check to Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth Executive Director Bill Jones, Elizabeth 2nd Ward Councilman Nelson Gonzalez, and City officials.
Awarded through HUD's Jobs Plus program, these grants support work readiness and connect public housing residents with employment, education, and financial empowerment services—an evidence-based model proven to help public housing residents find and keep jobs. This place-based program supports economic resilience for public housing residents by incentivizing and enabling employment through income disregards for working families. This results in zero rent increases for 4 years for participating residents that report increased income.
"Every public housing authority in the United States should have a mandatory Jobs Plus training hub, that's how much I believe in this amazing self-sufficiency program," said Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. "Jobs Plus allows employed residents who earn a salary beyond the 30% public housing income contribution to waive the difference for up to 4 years, providing peace of mind while they continue on their path to independence."
Mravlag Manor is home to 414 households with 79 percent of residents qualifying as extremely low income or less, and 54 percent of residents without any earned income from employment. Partnering with the local workforce system, the Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth will provide educational and vocational training with an emphasis on in-demand industries, such as food service, office and administrative support, transportation, and production occupations.
Training will include extensive job coaching, soft-skills training, financial literacy training, job search and placement assistance, and rapid reemployment services. Additionally, community partners will help provide services that overcome barriers to employment, including childcare and transportation. Working together with resident community coaches, the program aims to support a strong sense of community that values mutual motivation and empowerment toward living wage employment.