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Sept. 27, 2016

Chandler hosts East Valley Family Self-Sufficiency Alliance annual graduation and recognition ceremony 

The East Valley Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Alliance will hold their Annual Graduation and Recognition Ceremony from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave. The FSS program is a voluntary program designed to assist families living in low-income housing achieve economic independence.  

Every year the FSS Alliance, a group of valley city staff members who administer the program, recognizes FSS program participants and graduates. This year, the City of Chandler will host the graduation celebration. Councilmember Nora Ellen and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Field Office Director, Barbara Gallegos, will deliver the opening remarks for the ceremony honoring more than 21 Family Self-Sufficiency graduates and five special effort award winners. Seven of the 21 graduates being honored reside in the City of Chandler.

Rasheedah is a FSS Chandler graduate who will be recognized at this year’s graduation ceremony. When Rasheedah joined the FSS Program she was unemployed and receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash assistance.  She made it very clear when she enrolled, that one of her goals included enrolling in college to pursue a degree in nursing. She’s also a mother of three children, one being a child with disabilities. This fueled her determination to change her financial situation and work towards economic self-sufficiency. With tenacity, determination and the belief that she would succeed, Rasheedah earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Grand Canyon University.  She is currently employed as a nurse with the Arizona Center for Cancer Care participating in cancer research. This is just one success story from the Chandler graduates. 

Families who participate in the program receive both subsidized housing (Section 8 or Public Housing) and case management services. The program’s goal is to move families from public assistance and into the workforce. Many of the FSS graduates have obtained higher education, improved employment and enhanced life skills.  Families also earn escrow funds as their earned income increases, and many families will use the funds for homeownership.  

The FSS Alliance includes Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale and Phoenix. These cities have committed to work together and develop relationships with local community resources to maximize participants’ success. Many of the participants and graduates have overcome difficult barriers and have become self-sufficient.  The graduates and special effort award winners have not allowed these barriers to stop them from obtaining their personal and professional goals. They sought assistance, worked hard and made significant sacrifices to achieve success.