Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program graduates Anna Carranco (Above) and Iris Manzanarez are honored for their achievements by the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB).
The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara is honoring two Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program graduates who used the stability of subsidized housing to build the skills and assets needed to become financially independent. Anna Carranco and Iris Manzanarez have worked hard over the last five years to achieve the goals they set for themselves, completing the program this year despite the global pandemic.
FSS is a voluntary five-year program dedicated to empowering families in their efforts to overcome barriers and achieve self-sufficiency and economic independence through training, education and supportive service resources. From the time the families enroll in FSS to the time they graduate, many triple their income, saving government funding and recycling tax dollars.
“I appreciate this program and owe so much of my accomplishments to it because it has allowed me to strive for better and to break through stereotypes,” said graduate Anna Carranco.
Anna graduated from FSS on March 1, 2021 and moved out of her affordable housing unit to pursue her next goal in the program, which was home ownership. Several years earlier, Anna’s mother, Imelda, also completed the FSS program and became a pre-school teacher. Anna and her brother, Eddie, followed in their mother’s footsteps by graduating from college; Anna has a criminal justice degree and is a Sherriff’s Deputy while Eddie has a degree in biological engineering and is an academic counselor.
The second graduate, Iris Manzanarez, is a single mother of four. A long-standing Housing Authority resident, CalWORKs (a public assistance program that provides cash aid to eligible families that have a children in the home) was her sole income source for over 15 years. Iris enrolled in FSS on April 1, 2014 and continued to receive CalWORKs for four additional years until she secured her first job in over 16 years. After she slowly phased out of CalWORKs and was completely off by the welfare program by April 1, 2020, she secured a full-time job as a cashier at United Thrift Store. She continued working full-time throughout the pandemic, completed Financial Literacy Workshops and was able to graduate from FSS on April 1, 2021.
“I sleep at nights better knowing that I have some type of savings accumulated that will benefit me for my future,” said Iris Manzanarez.
The FSS program currently has 135 participants and is supported by both Housing Authority staff and the FSS Program Coordinating Committee, comprised of a network of 23 local businesses/service providers including Family Service Agency, Workforce Resource Center, American Riviera Bank, Department of Rehabilitation, SBCC School of Continued Education, Union Bank, World Financial Group, Girls Inc, Women’s Economic Ventures, CommUnify, Spherion and Transition House. The Committee offers program vision and coordination, streamlines access to services in life-skills, workforce training, financial literacy workshops, academic counseling, vocational rehabilitation, family counseling, and job placement.
About Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara
The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara is a local public agency created for the purpose of providing safe, decent, and quality affordable housing and supportive services to eligible persons with limited incomes, through a variety of federal, state, local and private resources. Since 1969, the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara has developed and/or secured over 4,000 units of affordable rental housing for Santa Barbara through a variety of federal, state, local and private funding sources. Please visit the website at http://hacsb.org/.