FOX CITIES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Appleton Housing Authority Helps Five Struggling Moms Gain Financial Independence, Brighter Holiday Season

With the passing of the Holiday Season in Austin, attention turns to politics as a new legislative session gets underway.   Earl McGehee / Flickr

Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce issued the following announcement on Dec. 11.

Five Appleton area families are brimming with a sense of excitement that has nothing to do with the upcoming holiday season and everything to do with achieving financial self-sufficiency.  After years of hard times, five single moms have reached success through the completion of the Appleton Housing Authority’s (AHA) Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program.

     To mark the occasion, the AHA will hold a special celebration for new FSS program graduates: Chelsea, Shelly Voight, Rachel Baptiste, Lisa Monnot and Evie Thorne and their families.  Their stories will touch your heart and inspire you.

     Members of the Media are invited to attend the ceremony and program beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Dec. 12 at The Fox Club, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Stadium in Appleton, to speak to the women themselves about their inspiring stories. Their excitement will surely be easy to see, as each graduate is presented with a sizeable check for the monies they earned (total of $ 71,828.26 ) by meeting career and life goals through the financial incentive portion of the FSS Program. 

     The FSS Program works in tandem with the AHA’s Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Rental Assistance program, which administers Wisconsin/U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds to help offset rental expenses for qualified lower income families in the Appleton area and partners with CAP SERVICES and The Fox Valley Technical College Starting 2.0 program.

     In addition to hearing from the graduates, State Representative Amanda Stuck will share her personal story and connection to the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which gave her the opportunity to complete her college education and the confidence to pursue her career as an elected official.  Brian S. Schimming, COO  of Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) will speak on the accomplishments of the Housing Authority as they celebrate 50 years of service to the community.

       “The FSS program gives participants the mentoring tools they need to stay on track to finish their education and find stable employment that provides a living wage,” noted Danielle Koepke AHA Family Support Specialist and FSS Program

mentor. “This unique program is designed to provide stable, affordable housing allowing families to focus on pursuing a higher level of education, job training and fiscal responsibility.” 

     “The reward of assisting people with the world stacked against them to become self-sufficient is both exhilarating and heartwarming,” Danielle said.

About the AHA Family Self-Sufficiency Program:

     The Family Self-Sufficiency Program was established by the AHA in 1993 to promote economic self-sufficiency among participants in the Housing Choice Voucher or Public Housing programs.  The program’s mission is to empower people to take control of their lives by becoming financially independent and productive members of the community. 

     The program does not simply attack the symptoms of poverty; it tackles dependency on all fronts and replaces powerlessness with the opportunity for a better future. The goal of the program is to assist families in becoming

and remaining independent of government assistance.  To that end, the program offers families a financial incentive in the form of a savings account that becomes available upon successful graduation from the program. 

     The FSS program also offers participating individuals a five-year five-phase plan toward self-sufficiency, which are monitored by a personal FSS mentor.  Stages of the program include:  personal development and assessment, development of an individual action plan, maintenance efforts, transition and follow-up plans.             

About the Appleton Housing Authority:

     The Appleton Housing Authority (AHA) is the largest provider of affordable housing options in the Appleton area, serving close to 1000 families per month.  The agency operates rental housing, homeownership and family self-sufficiency programs along with other key housing-related programs in the Appleton community for over 50 years.     

     The AHA’s non-profit Neighborhood Housing, Inc. (NHI) organization is committed to affordable housing and the self-sufficiency of families, elderly and disabled individuals in the Fox Cities. NHI also funded the AHA’s School Build Community Partnership with the Appleton Area School District (AASD).  This unique hands-on educational partnership annually brought students from Appleton East, North and West High Schools together to build 12 new, affordable homes.  For more information about the AHA’s history, mission and programs, visit    

Original source can be found here.

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