City Launches ‘Gaining Opportunities’ Program to Address Poverty
Alexis Steger, Housing & Community Development Director
Sept. 12, 2019 -- For Immediate Release
DUBUQUE, Iowa – The City of Dubuque Housing and Community Development Department has revitalized a program for community members experiencing work/life instabilities. The Circles Initiative has been replaced with a new model and new program to address poverty known as Gaining Opportunities (GO).
The GO program will help individuals address the lack of resources which contribute to living in poverty. Through community support, strategic partners, and one-on-one coaching, GO participants can work on six key community-building tracks to improve their situation: education, money management, employment, access to services, basic needs, and social connections. While GO will act as a stand-alone program, there are two other programs embedded in the GO model.
“Getting Ahead in the Workplace” is a personal development class that assists participants in the development of a prosperity plan, coupled with the support of a community, to help them grow. supports their journey. During the Tuesday evening Getting Ahead classes, participants explore the following resources: financial, emotional, mental, language, social capital, spiritual, physical, integrity and trust, motivation and persistence, relationships and role models, and hidden rules. Twenty-one residents graduated from the Getting Ahead program last year.
Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is a program that empowers Housing Choice Voucher participants to increase their earnings and reduce dependency on welfare and rental subsidies. Once participants obtain employment and their portion of the rent increases, HUD invests the participant’s portion of the rent in an escrow account. Staff provide one-on-one coaching, goal setting, and referrals so participants can achieve their goals. Once their goals have been achieved, they graduate from FSS and receive their escrow money. There are currently 70 residents participating in the FSS program.
Community members, past Getting Ahead graduates, and FSS participants are invited to join staff on the third Tuesday of every month for a community meal and educational and supportive sessions. Meals are served at 5:30 p.m. at Prescott Elementary at 1151 White Street, Dubuque. Staff ask that those interested in attending RSVP by calling at 563-589-4230. The housing and community development department, along with the GO program, is a positive force for individuals, the community, and strategic partners, addressing challenges that keep people from achieving financial stability and a sustainable way of living.The next GO community session will be Tuesday, Sept. 17.
Additional information on the Gaining Opportunities program is available at www.cityofdubuque.org/GainingOpportunities
or by calling 563-589-4230.
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