LHA tenant realizes home ownership dream

CONTRIBUTEDTalluah Williams stands outside her new home she purchased in May.

Talluah Williams has become the third public housing tenant to use the resources and financial benefits of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program to become a first-time homeowner. 

Williams was unemployed when she signed up for the FSS program in 2014, but her main goal was to own her own home. Through hard work and committment, she purchased a home in May. 

FSS is a voluntary program established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to promote economic self-sufficieny among low-income families receiving subsidized housing. Lockport Housing Authority implemented its FSS program, which is open to residents of its public housing, in 2013 and currently has 32 participants.

The goal of the program is to help participating families by connecting them with the appropriate support services and resources that are needed to move toward economic self-sufficieny. These services can include furthering education, job training, resume assistance, budgeting and child care options. 

One of the major benefits of the FSS program is a financial incentive that establishes an interest bearing savings account for the family. As a participating family's rent increases as a result of increased earnings, a portion of this increase is deposited into their account each month by the housing authority. The money becomes available to the family upon successful graduation from the FSS program the money becomes available to the family. 

Williams was able to build her FSS savings account to more than $15,000

“I never thought in less than five years I would be able to buy a house but with the help of everyone at the housing authority, I was able to make a better life for me and my family. In my heart and mind, I knew this would be one of the best decisions I could make and I am very thankful for the FSS program,” she said.