BREWER, Maine — Brewer Housing Authority residents who want to better their lives can sign up for the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency family program, which can help them gain economic independence, Executive Director Gordon Stitham said Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides funds for the program, and has issued the housing authority another annual grant to pay for a social services coordinator, he said.
“This is a one-year grant that we apply for every year,” Stitham said.
Brewer was awarded $49,799 in HUD funds this year to pay for the coordinator. The local agency received $48,349 in coordinator funds last year, along with $250,000 to help residents in the self-sufficiency program, which “helps with day care, car repair, education — anything that helps them to better themselves,” Stitham has said.
The $250,000 must be used over a three-year period, he said.
To participate, housing authority residents must sign a contract, usually a five-year one, which is designed to help them gain independence.
“It gets residents to set goals, work towards those goals and achieve the goals,” Stitham said. “They’re able to go out and get a better job, buy a home and move out of the program.”
Stitham, who has worked for the housing authority for the past 20 years, has seen the program funding help numerous low-income residents. Half a dozen have been able to purchase homes, he said.
“It’s an excellent program,” Stitham said.
Brewer is not the only community in Maine to get HUD funding. The Portland Housing Authority also will receive $18,057 and the Lewiston Housing Authority will get $16,842, a HUD press release states.