THRIVE (Tools to Help Residents In a Vulnerable Economy)
THRIVE is a new program designed and created by Housing Assistance Corporation to address housing affordability and increase empowerment for households on Cape Cod. A shallow monthly rental subsidy is paired with required ongoing work with staff through our HUD Certified Housing Counseling Program with the goal of setting goals and working on financial empowerment. Funded through a combination of American Rescue Plan Act funds and donations from the United Way, United Way Board, and Bilezikian Family Foundation, this program helps bridge the gap between the resources available.
Given the long waitlist for housing subsidies, households who are currently unable to afford the cost of housing have no other program that offers continuous assistance over time. According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator, the living wage required for a single parent of one child in Barnstable County went from $35.28 per hour in 2021 to $43.00 in 2022. Without additional assistance, households under 100% AMI will be unable to continue living and working on Cape Cod due to the increasing gap between wages and housing costs.
Our solution is a program called THRIVE: a Workforce Housing Voucher, targeted to households living and working on Cape Cod.
Approved households would have a fixed shallow subsidy administered monthly to their landlord to increase the affordability of their housing costs. This assistance would be provided for a period of 12 months, renewable for an additional 12 months contingent on funding and meeting eligibility requirements. Participants would also be required to work with a HUD certified Housing Counselor to identify and track housing and financial goals that could be impacted by leveraging the funding from this program, with the end of program goal of reducing expenses and/or increasing household income. During a recent pilot for a similar program design, program participants were able to achieve various outcomes, including reducing debt, starting a savings account, improving credit, and/or creating a plan for eventual home ownership.