Resident Opportunities & Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) Program

Resident Opportunities & Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) Program is designed to help Public Housing residents attain economic and housing self-sufficiency. The program works to promote the development of local strategies designed to coordinate efforts with public and private resources, to provide supportive services and resident empowerment activities. These services are provided to enable participating families to increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance, make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency or, in the case of elderly or disabled residents, help improve living conditions and enable residents to age in-place. A Service Coordinator ensures that program participants are linked to the supportive services they need to achieve self-sufficiency or remain independent.

The ROSS Program

  • Connects residents with services in the community to promote independence and stability
  • Seeks active partnerships with community organizations to provide services to Public Housing residents
  • Assists families in increasing earned income moving them toward economic and housing self-sufficiency
  • Ensures that elderly and disabled residents have the opportunity to maintain independent living by ageing in-place and/or avoiding placement in a full-care facility to the greatest extent possible

Service Coordinators

ROSS Service Coordinators assess the needs of Public Housing residents and coordinate available resources in the community to meet those needs. Acting as a bridge, they ensure that program participants are linked to the supportive services they need to achieve self-sufficiency or remain independent. They organize educational and wellness events so that residents can receive information regarding services available in the community. While Service Coordinators do not provide direct services, such as acting as a homemaker or providing job training, they do act as a source of general assistance to residents facing crisis situations or lease violations. Coordinators are also bound by a code of ethics that requires all personal information to remain confidential unless the resident signs a consent form to release information. Coordinator activities include:

  • Assisting residents with obtaining needed community-based services and/or public benefits
  • Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the supportive services provided to residents individually and collectively
  • Identifying and networking with appropriate community-based service providers
  • Advocating on behalf of residents individually and collectively to ensure their needs are met
  • Assisting residents with establishing and working with Resident Councils, as requested
  • Assisting residents to set up informal support networks
  • Assisting residents with resolving problems with their tenancy
  • Developing and acquiring appropriate health and wellness programs for the housing community
  • Developing after-school youth, job readiness, literacy, volunteer and financial management programs for residents and their families
  • Eliminating barriers to enable frail and at-risk low income elderly, people with disabilities, and families to live with dignity and independence
  • Assessing the needs of elderly residents in Activities of Daily Living and determining their respective service needs

Resident Participation

The ROSS Program is available to all RIHA residents living at Sunset Heights, Spencer Towers, and Lincoln Homes. To participate in the program, residents need only to make an appointment with a Service Coordinator to discuss their specific needs. The Coordinator will then be in the position to link them to the supportive services they need to achieve self-sufficiency or remain independent. Property Managers may also refer residents to the ROSS Program for assistance to maintain housing stability and avoid lease violations and/or eviction.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment with the ROSS Service Coordinator, please call 309.788.0825 ext 209 or 210.

Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program

The RIHA Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is available to Public Housing residents, and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program participants.

The voluntary program enables HUD-assisted families to increase their earned income and reduce their dependency on welfare assistance and rental subsidies. The FSS Program Coordinators assist the family in the development of an Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP) to help assure that program participants are linked to the supportive services within the community that they need to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Some of the services coordinated through the program include: child care, transportation, education, job training, employment counseling, and financial literacy, among others.

FSS Contract of Participation

One of the basic requirements of the FSS program is creation of an FSS Contract of Participation between the head of the FSS family and RIHA. The contract includes the rights and responsibilities of the FSS family and RIHA. The term of the FSS contract can be up to five years; however, participants may successfully graduate in less than five years. The contract may also be extended for up to two more years provided that there is good cause for the extension, such as serious illness or involuntary loss of employment. The FSS contract requires that:

  • The family comply with the lease
  • All FSS household family members are welfare-free for the 12 consecutive months before the FSS contract is completed
  • The head of the FSS family seek and maintain suitable employment

Important Notes

  • Noncompliance with the FSS contract is NOT considered a lease violation and will NOT result in termination of the family’s RIHA lease or Section 8 Voucher.
  • While one of the primary objectives of the FSS program is to reduce the dependency of RIHA families on federal, state, and local housing assistance programs; some families may still need and may continue to receive assistance for housing

Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP)

In addition to the rights and responsibilities of both RIHA and program participants, the FSS contract incorporates the family’s Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP). The ITSP allows the FSS Coordinator and the family to measure the family’s progress toward self-sufficiency. It is a customized written plan that consists of a series of intermediate and long-term activities to be completed by the family coupled with a list of the services and resources they may need to access to achieve their goals.

Interest-Bearing Escrow Account

If and when the FSS family’s rent increases as a result of increased earned income, an interest-bearing Escrow Account will be established by RIHA on behalf of the FSS family. Deposits will be made throughout the duration of the family’s participation in the FSS program.

Service Coordinators

FSS Coordinators work with program participants to develop a Contract of Participation and a customized Individual Training and Services plan (ITSP). While Service Coordinators do not provide direct services, they do act as a bridge connecting participants with the services and resources they may need to access to achieve their goals including:

  • Assisting the family in the development of their ITSP
  • Assuring that that FSS program participants are linked to the supportive services they need to achieve the goals outlined in the ITSP
  • Identifying and networking with appropriate community-based service providers
  • Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the supportive services provided to residents individually and collectively
  • Assisting residents to set up informal support networks
  • Assisting residents with resolving problems with their tenancy

Coordinators are also bound by a code of ethics that requires all personal information to remain confidential unless the resident signs a consent form to release information.

More Information

To participate in the FSS program, or to schedule an appointment with the FSS Coordinator, please call 309.788.0825 ext 202.

Housing

RIHA owns and manages 241 units of conventional public housing and operates a Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) with 281 units of subsidized Section 8 housing. The Agency also operates a Rental Housing Support Program (RHSP) funded through the Illinois Housing Development Association (IHDA). In total, RIHA provides homes for over 600 families – nearly 1,650 citizens living in the City of Rock Island.

Public Housing

RIHA owns and manages three public housing sites. Spencer Towers and Sunset Heights are high-rise buildings while Lincoln Homes is comprised of traditional row houses. Each of these sites is open and available for general occupancy.

Public Housing Application Requirements

  • Government-issued photo ID for head of household and all household members over the age of 18
  • Birth Certificates for every household member
  • Social Security Cards for every household member
  • If immigrant or refugee, proof of legal status
  • Three months of check stubs (if applicable)

Voucher Programs

RIHA currently operates a Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) with 281 units of subsidized Section 8 housing including 8 units of Shelter Plus Care. The Agency also operates a Rental Housing Support Program (RHSP) funded through the Illinois Housing Development Association (IHDA).

Section 8 Voucher Application Requirements

  • Government-issued photo ID for head of household and all household members over the age of 18
  • Birth Certificates for every household member
  • Social Security Cards for every household member
  • If immigrant or refugee, proof of legal status
  • Three months of check stubs (if applicable)

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program refers to a federally subsidized section 8 housing program created to assist very low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.

Through the RIHA HCV Program, participants are provided the opportunity to choose any house or apartment they would like to rent as long as it meets certain basic requirements for housing quality. Under the HCV Program, the housing cannot cost more than the HUD-defined Payment Standard, but a family may choose to rent a more expensive house or apartment and pay the extra amount. However, the total rent cannot exceed 40% of the household's income.

Homeownership Voucher Program

Homeownership Voucher Program allows families with Section 8 vouchers to use their vouchers to help pay the mortgage on a home they buy. Families approved for Section 8 homeownership vouchers can switch from rental assistance to mortgage assistance when they are ready to buy a house. To qualify, families must be first-time homebuyers and they must find a house to buy that meets the program standards.

Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Program

Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Program is the component of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCVP) program that provides long term project-based affordable housing for qualified households. Unlike the Section 8 HCVP, PBV subsidies are not mobile. The subsidy is tied to a specific unit at a specific property for the term of a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract. When a tenant moves out of their PBV apartment, they lose their subsidy. The subsidy then becomes available for the next tenant.

Rental Housing Support Program

Rental Housing Support Program is a state-funded grant program similar to RIHA’s Section 8 program but is unit based, so the subsidy stays with the unit, not the tenant.

Family Unification Vouchers

Family Unification Vouchers reunite families that have been split up due to inadequate housing. It also helps to prevent homelessness among young adults (ages 18-21) who are aging out of foster care. RIHA administers the vouchers in partnership with the Illinois Department of Child & Family Services (ILDCFS) who is responsible for referring currently active eligible families and youth for rental assistance. As part of the program, ILDCFS will provide case management and a variety of support services that assists families and youth locate and remain stable in their housing. The Family Unification vouchers enable families and young adults to rent housing from private landlords and pay about 30 percent of their monthly income toward rent and utilities.

Shelter Plus Care Program

Shelter Plus Care Program provides permanent housing and supportive services to homeless people with disabilities and/or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or related diseases and their families.

For additional information, please call 309.788.0825 or e-mail Housing@riha4rent.org.