LEWISTON – Lewiston Housing Authority, through a grant from Bank of America and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will offer programs to help low-income families build assets by opening bank accounts, starting a business and owning a home. The programs are open to any and all Section 8 and public housing participants and are designed to help to build future wealth.

Family Self Sufficiency is a voluntary program designed to assist Section 8 and public housing residents to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency. A participant can earn an escrow money savings account throughout their contract period. As a participant’s rent increases due to an increase in household income, the Housing Assistance Payment decreases. The difference in the payment is set aside in an interest bearing escrow account on behalf of the participant.

The Family Development Account is a savings program that, in partnership with Women Work and Community, enables low-income families to establish savings accounts. The savings will be matched at a 2:1 ratio.

Participating families can save a maximum of $2,000, which is then matched by $4000, for a total of saving plus match of $6,000. Participants can save toward goals in three areas: education (or training), homeownership or business development.

The Homeownership Voucher Program helps families invest in a home. Participants are building equity instead of just paying rent. The program is designed to assist families in achieving the dream of homeownership, while having the security of the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

The program allows the voucher holder to use the monthly Housing Assistance Payment for mortgage and other homeownership costs. The voucher program was created to expand the opportunities available to Section 8 participants.

The housing authority has developed Points for Progress, a way for those who participate in any of the programs to win a computer. Over the course of the year, eight computers (with one year’s Internet access) will be given in a series of drawings.

Chances to win a computer will be increased according to the number of points assigned for any goals accomplished by participants within the past year. Points are earned for every activity participated in and every goal achieved. Nonwinners will be carried over to the next drawing.

The housing authority will conduct informational sessions from 9 to 11 a.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Feb. 23, March 30 and April 2, at the B St. Community Center, corner of Bates and Birch streets.

For more information, contact Reta Herrick at 783-8539 or [email protected] or Dave Projansky at 783-1423 or [email protected]

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