AKWESASNE –– The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, which less than two weeks ago received a $2 million federal grant for continuing upgrades of its affordable housing stock, on Thursday was awarded another nearly $200,000 to provide a variety of services for the residents of its public housing.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday that the Akwesasne Housing Authority would receive $199,768 in so-called ROSS-SC funds to hire or retain service coordinators who help public housing residents with employment training, financial literacy services, educational opportunities and health and wellness programs. The grant was part of $36 million in federal funds awarded to public housing agencies, nonprofit organizations, resident associations and tribal grantees nationwide, the announcement said.

The grants are awarded through HUD’s Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency - Service Coordinators program (ROSS-SC), which supports local strategies that link housing assistance with public and private resources to enable participating families to increase their earned income; reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance; and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency, the announcement said. Through needs assessments, case management, and referrals to community and web-based services, service coordinators help each participant advance towards these goals in ways that best fit their needs, personal priorities, and interests.

Connecting families with the resources they need to invest in themselves gives them the opportunity to become self-sufficient,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in the announcement. “HUD is proud to give our local partners the resources they need to help their residents reach the next level.”

“Navigating the complex health care and jobs training industries can be extremely intimidating. Sometimes we just need some guidance to take that first step towards financial independence,” said Lynne Patton, HUD regional administrator for New York and New Jersey. “ROSS Service Coordinators are an invaluable resource for public housing residents because they provide needed support that can move them towards self-sufficiency.”

In all, six New York organizations received roughly $2.1 million through the grant awards. The other five recipients were housing authorities in New York City, Ithaca, Syracuse, Binghamton and Utica.

On Feb. 21, HUD announced that the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe has been awarded nearly $2 million for continuing upgrades of its affordable housing stock. The amount was the second-highest granted in New York; the Seneca Nation of New York received about $2.5 million through the same program.

The tribe received nearly $600,000 in federal funds to address housing conditions in 2018 and a similar amount for the same purpose in 2017.

A year earlier, it received a $2 million HUD grant that was applied to supporting the Akwesasne Housing Authority’s operations, including a tenant assistance program for tribal members living on and off the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Territory and two new supportive housing ventures, one for seniors and one for veterans.

The tribe also received a separate $600,000 grant from HUD to finance a solar array to provide electricity to the authority’s Sunrise Acres housing complex and housing projects that may be developed by the agency in the future.

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