July 25, 2023 – (Worcester, Mass.) – The Community Builders (TCB) presented a check to Plumley Village resident Rosangel Guzman on June 30, 2023 for graduating from the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, a wealth building program for families living in affordable housing communities. FSS participants have their on-time rent payments reported to credit bureaus. In addition, participants can recapture their rent increases in a five-year escrow savings account.
Dedication and determination paved a path to self-sufficiency for Rosangel who began her journey with the FSS program in 2018. During her five-year journey, Rosangel had to meet certain goals that would assist her in becoming self-sufficient while also receiving escrow credit due to an increase in her earned income.
“I was able to save money in my FSS escrow account to help my family in the Dominican Republic at the end of the program. My goals were to save money, build and maintain my credit score and pay off my debt. By the end of the program, I was able to increase my score and maintain it and pay off a huge portion of my debt throughout,” said Rosangel.
The FSS program at Plumley Village is administered through Community Life (CL), the Community Builders’ place-based model that uses healthy and stable housing as a platform for residents to connect to community resources and opportunities to thrive. By creating programs and building strategic partnerships with residents and local stakeholders, CL helps create pathways to opportunities in early education, economic mobility, youth development, community engagement, voting access, healthy living, and resident leadership.
“We are immensely proud of Rosangel’s achievements and are honored to have been part of her journey towards self-sufficiency,” said Anne Moriarty, TCB Director of Community Life, New England. “Her determination and dedication exemplify the essence of the FSS program and reinforce our commitment to continue making a positive impact in the lives of individuals and families in our community.”
The FSS program is promotes the development of local strategies to coordinate public and private resources that help housing choice voucher program participants, public housing tenants, and tenants in the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program obtain employment that will enable participating families to achieve economic independence and reduce dependence on welfare assistance and rental subsidies. The program consists of goal development, case management and escrow credit to eligible head of household participants. The program is voluntary, and participants are required to meet their goals in a five-year term.
The success of TCB’s homeownership pilot at Plumley Village inspired the From Our Doors to Yours initiative, which was recently awarded a Fannie Mae contract as part of its sustainable communities’ program. The program connects residents with financial coaching resources while also providing family self-sufficiency services to help establish bank accounts and build savings through earned income.
About The Community Builders
The Community Builders’ mission is to build and sustain strong communities where all people can thrive. Our mission-driven businesses work with partners to develop, finance and operate residential communities, neighborhood amenities and opportunity programs for families, seniors and adults with disabilities. Since 1964, we have advanced housing equity through award-winning affordable and mixed-income communities and our pioneering Community Life model for resident success. Today, our ownership and management portfolio include over 14,000 apartment homes. Anchored by offices in Boston, Chicago, Columbus, New York and Washington D.C., we operate across 15 states.