Charlestown Works Program will provide incentives and training toward better job opportunities and greater financial independence for residents
Boston, MA – June 5, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — In an effort to help low-income residents find higher-paying jobs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a $2 million grant for the next four years to the Boston Housing Authority. BHA competed with 57 other applications across the nation to be one of nine agencies awarded a Jobs-Plus grant. The HUD funding comes with more than $1 million in matching funds through the City of Boston aimed at increasing education levels, job search and placement and financial literacy assistance for public housing residents.
“I am committed to ensuring that every Boston resident has the opportunity to excel, thrive, and reach his or her fullest potential,” said Mayor Walsh. “This funding will boost the expansion of high school equivalency and provide opportunities to residents in low-income public housing through additional English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programming at the Bunker Hill development.”
Currently, the Charlestown Adult Education Center enrolls about 150 people per year in its high school equivalency and ESOL programs. HUD’s Jobs-Plus Pilot Program will connect the BHA’s educational programs with employment and training services, new rent rules that make work pay, and neighbor-to-neighbor outreaching— demonstrating how cross-agency partnerships make a difference in the economic prospects of public housing residents. The purpose of the program is to develop locally-based, job-driven approaches to increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement technology skills, and financial literacy for residents of public housing. The place-based Jobs Plus Pilot program addresses poverty among public housing residents by incentivizing and enabling employment through income disregards for working families, and a set of services designed to support work including employer linkages, job placement and counseling, educational advancement and financial counseling. Ideally, these incentives will help foster a culture of work and make working families the norm. The grant covers BHA’s implementation of the Charlestown Works program and activities for a four-year period.
“This grant will help insure that our residents have the opportunities they need to increase their incomes and quality of life going forward,” said BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle. “We also want to thank our Congressional delegation for their continued support and advocacy for the public housing residents of Boston.”
Thirty-five percent of residents aged 25 or over in the Charlestown development do not have a high school diploma and another 29% of residents have achieved a high school diploma but have not been able to further their education beyond high school level. Few have the extra education or training necessary for available office, administrative and health care industry jobs that would provide financial stability. The Charlestown development contains a total of 1,061 units, with 943 adults between the ages of 18 and 64.
Partners in addition to the City of Boston providing matching funds and/or services include Boston Private Industry Council, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Boston College, John F. Kennedy Family Service Center, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. City Departments contributing include the Office of Jobs and Community Services, Boston Public Health Commission and Department of Neighborhood Development. BHA is providing renovated program space at 76 Monument Street in Charlestown. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, along with Congressman Capuano fully supported the BHA’s grant application.
BNN News recently interviewed Rachel Goodman and Lori D’Alleva of the BHA to talk about the JobsPlus program. To watch the video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTJEAR40HzM&feature=youtu.be.