Poverty has begun to increase slowly over the last decade. In 1985, 18.7 percent of the total population lived below the poverty level. By 1992, this percentage had increased to 19.4. The many problems faced by poor people provide a strong case for an approach which looks at meeting needs holistically (Le., meeting the needs of a family from housing to health care, day care and transportation to job and education assistance).
Attaining financial self-sufficiency generally requires that a family or an individual receive a variety of services, generally sequenced over time. These may include education, job training, parenting, household budgeting, job search assistance, housing assistance, health or medical assistance, day care, and transportation assistance. Assistance is provided within a context of mutual responsibility entered into by the family or individual and the service providers, in which the provision of all or some of the services or assistance is predicated on the client's undertaking specific activities and attaining certain goals. The type and duration of activities undertaken for the goal of self-sufficiency and the nature and levels of interim benchmarks or accomplishments will vary, in large part based on the resources, capabilities, and starting point of the family or person beginning the process of trying to reach self-sufficiency.
This guidebook examines Michigan's HOME job training demonstration program to explore the use of the HOME program to spur financial self-sufficiency for low-income people. Other examples of housing used to further self-sufficiency include the Family Self-Sufficiency component of the Section 8 program and Texas's use of RTC properties to provide self-sufficiency opportunities for public housing residents, among others. In the FSS program, eligible Section 8 and public housing residents are provided opportunities for education, job training, counseling and other forms of social service assistance, while living in assisted housing, so that they may obtain the education, employment, and business and social skills necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. (author abstract)