U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Jobs Plus Initiative
The Jobs Plus program develops locally-based, job-driven approaches that increase earnings and advance employment outcomes for residents of public housing. The place-based program addresses poverty among public housing residents by incentivizing and enabling employment through earned income disregards for working residents and a set of services designed to support work, including employer linkages, job placement and counseling, educational advancement, and financial counseling. Ideally, these incentives will saturate the target developments, building a culture of work and making working residents the norm. The Jobs Plus Pilot program consists of the following three core components:
1. Employment-related services: Applicants must partner with the local Workforce Development Boards (WDB) and American Job Center(s) (AJC/One-Stop) in their area to offer multiple employment-related services for residents with a range of employment needs. Local Labor Market Information (LMI) should be used both for initial planning and analysis of which employment opportunities are most available locally, as well as for monitoring ongoing trends. Program services provided on-site should include, but need not be limited to, the following:
- Career exploration/job readiness workshops
- Job search and job placement assistance
- Entrepreneurship workshops
- Work experience including on-the-job training, internships, pre-apprenticeships and registered apprenticeships (HUD encourages opportunities for residents to be paid while training)
- Facilitated connections to education and training opportunities
- Rapid re-employment if job loss occurs
- Proactive post-placement job retention support and career advancement coaching
- Access to computers, phones, fax, and copy machines and other supplies for participants’ employment-related uses and adequate training on how to use these technologies
2. Financial incentives: Jobs Plus Earned Income Disregard: Applicants must implement a financial incentive for program participants, known as the Jobs Plus Earned Income Disregard (JPEID). This component will neutralize any rent increase due to rising income for Jobs Plus participants, removing a major disincentive to employment. Rent incentives offered through JPEID will be reimbursed to the Public Housing Authority (PHA) via the awarded Jobs Plus grant and should be included in the program budget.
3. Community Supports for Work: A core component of the Jobs Plus Program, Community Supports for Work (CSW) reflects the goal of building a caring and cohesive public housing community that is strongly committed to supporting residents’ progress towards economic security. PHAs are expected to develop a strategy to promote CSW. The strategy should include multiple intentional and complementary steps to build CSW falling into two main categories:
- Activities that build a caring and cohesive public housing community
- Informal and nontraditional activities that support residents’ progress toward economic security
The CSW engagement strategy will involve the residents in the targeted development and creating a working community. Program outreach should be directed towards residents at all points along the employment spectrum – from unemployed individuals with no work history to working underemployed families with substantial work history. One key strategy for retention should include the use of residents as Community Coaches.
The comprehensive nature of the Jobs Plus program requires that PHAs establish partnerships with American Job Centers and other key social service agencies within the community. These partnerships will strengthen program planning and implementation and streamline access to services for participants. Partners should include: Workforce Investment Boards/American Job Centers; local social service agencies; employment and training organizations; vocational training providers; community colleges and four-year educational institutions; and other supportive service agencies providing either direct services or referrals to services that are critical for supporting successful employment.
Amount: A total of $15,000,000 is available to fund five grants ranging from $1,000,000-$3,700,000 per project period. The project period is four years. A match contribution (cash or in-kind) equivalent to 25% of the total grant amount requested is required.
Eligibility: PHAs that operate one or more public housing developments (as designated for asset management purposes) may be eligible. A list of developments that meet the criteria is provided in Appendix B of the solicitation, however, the mere appearance of a development on this list does not mean that the development is appropriate for a Jobs Plus program.
Criteria for eligible developments include:
- Size: Minimum development size of 200 households where at least one resident is non-elderly (under age 65).
- Unemployment: At least 40 percent of the households (excluding households consisting only of elderly residents) that report no earned income in PIC (HUD information system data).
- Place: Units to be served must be contiguous unless good cause can be shown that the program will succeed in non-contiguous developments. A description of how the program will be run from one central location and remain accessible to residents of non-contiguous developments will be required. This requirement may disqualify developments on the Eligible Development list if the Asset Management Project (AMP) is for scattered sites.
- Performance: Developments that belong to a non-performing PHA may be eligible to participate provided HUD has determined the PHA can implement and oversee the grant successfully. A “non-performing PHA” is defined as a PHA designated as a troubled performer under the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) as listed on HUD’s most recent official Troubled List or is designated a substandard performer based on its most recent published PHAS score.
PHAs with developments not listed on Appendix B that they believe, when combined, meet the criteria, may submit a request for review of eligibility (note: New Mexico does not have any developments on the list). PHAs may propose to combine two or more developments to meet the criteria for eligible developments, subject to the following conditions:
- Parts of developments cannot be combined. Only entire developments may be combined.
- The combined developments must meet the criteria for size (see above).
- The combined developments must meet the criteria for unemployment (see above).
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