Family Self-Sufficiency Program Graduates Honored for Achievements by Housing Authority

The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara honored 10 amazing Santa Barbara residents who have completed the organization’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program during a ceremony and dinner hosted at the Presidio Springs Community Room Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015.

“This is my proudest accomplishment,” said Richard Regalado, one of the 10 FSS program graduates honored this month. “The Family Self-Sufficiency program has provided education, financial learning and opportunities to start my career, set new career goals and be able to afford to spend time with my family.”

The Housing Authority’s FSS program is an initiative designed to help move families receiving housing assistance and related government subsidies to a more independent lifestyle, free of governmental assistance.

Ultimately, FSS aims to help participants achieve their own personal goals and greater socio-economic advancement, including college degrees, professional careers and first-time home ownership.

Also in attendance to help celebrate the graduates and provide them with certificates of completion were representatives for Congresswoman Lois Capps, Assemblymember Das Williams and Supervisor Salud Carbajal.

“The Housing Commission and staff are proud of the accomplishments of the graduates from its Family Self-Sufficiency Program. Our highly successful FSS program which focuses on low income families brings together needed tools, guidance and learning opportunities required for anyone’s socio–economic advancement,” said Rob Pearson, CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara. “Our Family Self-Sufficiency graduates have reached a huge milestone as a result of hard work and perseverance. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for them.”

To date, 260 individuals have graduated from FSS and 44 are now homeowners. From the time the families enroll in FSS to the time they graduate, families literally triple their income, saving government funding and recycling tax dollars.

“Thanks to the commitment and collaborative efforts of our Program Coordinating Committee comprised of local businesses, educators and social service agencies our graduates have been able to acquire the skills necessary to become independent of governmental assistance and truly be self-sufficient,” said Pearson. “FSS gives people the needed hand-up versus a hand-out and we are all better because of it.”

To enable FSS participants to achieve self-sufficiency, the Housing Authority partners with a group of community agencies.

The Program Coordinating Committee is comprised of representatives of the Family Service Agency, Workforce Resource Center, Montecito Bank & Trust, Women’s Economic Ventures, Department of Rehabilitation, SBCC Continuing Education, Union Bank, Transamerica Financial Advisors, Multi-Media Arts & Design Academy, New Beginnings Counseling Center, Department of Social Services and Cal-SOAP.

This network of service providers offers program vision and coordination, life-skills, entrepreneurial training, financial literacy workshops, academic counseling, vocational rehabilitation, family counseling, and job placement.

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Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara.