PHA Secures Hefty Grant to Help Residents Further Their Educations

(Philadelphia, PA - December 13, 2016)- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD) has awarded over $300,000 to the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) to hire "education navigators" to help low-income youth and their families apply for federal student aid for college and other post-secondary educational opportunities.

The grant was made under HUD's Project SOAR (Students + Opportunities + Achievements = Results) program, a new pilot program reflecting the federal government's commitment to expand educational services to youth living in public housing.  Project SOAR is formally known as the Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency for Education Program or ROSS for Education Program (ROED).

"The PHA and our partners are thrilled to receive this important grant to help our residents achieve success. I want like to thank Secretary Castro and HUD for this award," said PHA President and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah. "Education is a game changer.  This grant will help alleviate some of the barriers that prevent residents from going to college."

Using its $300,000 grant, PHA plans to employ two full-time education navigators to work with public housing youth, ages 15-20 years old. The navigators will devise strategies to address and prevent participants from dropping out of school, and encourage the goal of post-secondary education. They will also promote awareness and benefits of a college education and provide readiness and services to youth selected to take part in the program.

The program will include assistance in completing the FAFSA, as well as financial literacy and college readiness, completing post-secondary program applications, and post-acceptance procedures. To implement the grant, PHA will work closely with its partners including, Ceiba, Intercultural Family Services, Inc., Philadelphia Job Corps Life Sciences Institute, Philadelphia Youth Network, District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, Center for Social Policy & Community Development, Urban League of Philadelphia and The School District of Philadelphia. The partners will provide key services in support of the ROED program goals, including: financial literacy, tax preparation assistance, credit counseling and repair, GED/High School Equivalency, job skills training certification, parenting classes, tutoring, mentoring, after school and summer programming, and academic assessments.

PHA also has a commitment from the School District of Philadelphia to work with the Education Navigators through the District's Office of College & Career Readiness to assist in designing, planning and implementing all aspects of this program for participating students.