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HUD assigns $218K to assist Puerto Rico families’ financial stability

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has allocated $218,154 to six Puerto Rican municipalities as part of the 2023 Renewal and New Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program grants. The contribution is included in the nearly $130 million awarded nationwide.

San Juan will receive $23,125; Ponce $15,000; Bayamón $46,270; Trujillo Alto $44,114; San Germán $62,497; and Juana Díaz $27,148. The grants will support services such as coaching, training and savings accounts to help vulnerable communities build assets and achieve economic independence.

“Financial literacy, job training and educational opportunities are some of the resources the FSS program connects HUD-assisted families to so that they have the chance to find employment and build assets,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “HUD remains committed to working with our local partners to empower residents and promote economic justice for all Americans.”

“This funding demonstrates HUD’s commitment to advance equity especially in underserved communities. This is an opportunity to ensure that the HUD-assisted families we serve have access to financial literacy, on the job training and educational opportunities,” said HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Jennifer Riley-Collins.

“With access to these three key components, families now have an opportunity to achieve financial stability,” Riley-Collins said.

The FSS program, open to families in HUD-assisted housing, encourages economic self-sufficiency through coaching and access to a range of services and resources. It includes establishing an escrow savings account, with the aim of increasing income, reducing reliance on welfare and progressing toward economic independence.

As the largest asset-building program for low-income families in the U.S., the FSS program will fund more than 1,450 coordinators in the coming year, aiding more than 69,000 residents in public, voucher, and multifamily housing.

Since 2015, when Congress allowed Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) owners to implement FSS programs, HUD has initiated 91 new PBRA FSS programs, with last year being the first time PBRA owners could apply for the grants.

Unequal access to savings, negative or no credit history, and low relative engagement in mainstream banking are problems that disproportionately affect renters and widen the racial wealth gap. 

“This leaves renters with a minimal safety net to draw from in times of unemployment or unanticipated expenses such as car repair or medical emergencies. The FSS program helps to keep the unexpected from becoming larger financial problems through savings and support,” the agency stated.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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