Listen to this article

CHAMPAIGN — The Housing Authority of Champaign County has implemented three new Moving to Work initiatives, including one that will pick up the cost of on-campus housing for eligible University of Illinois students in lower-income families.

Moving to Work is a demonstration program for public housing authorities, giving them the authority to design and test innovative, locally-designed strategies using federal money to boost employment, self-sufficiency and housing choices, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Housing Authority of Champaign County is one of 39 Moving to Work housing authorities in the country, the local agency said.

The local housing authority is partnering with the UI to administer an Illinois Commitment Student Voucher program, a financial aid package that provides scholarships and grants to cover tuition and campus fees for students age 17-24 in households with a family income of $61,000 or less.

This program doesn’t cover room and board, so the agency said it will offer student vouchers to members of housing authority-assisted households compliant with its Moving to Work local self-sufficiency program.

The student voucher will cover the full cost of on-campus housing while the student is actively enrolled at the UI at Urbana-Champaign as a full-time student and maintains a passing grade point average.

The housing authority said it is also continuing to strengthen its community partnerships through the Community Improvement and Support Initiative. The agency said it will continue to work to identify uses for single family homes removed from the public housing portfolio in 2018 in ways that benefit its program participants.

The housing authority said another priority is expanding housing choices by making home ownership opportunities available to qualified current rental households.

Through its Good Steward Lease Program, the housing authority will work with residents living in Low Income Housing Tax Credit units to prepare the residents for home ownership.

At the end of an eight-year rental phase, residents will have a chance to convert to lease-purchase arrangements in year nine and earn credits of $500 each calendar quarter towards the purchase cost of the home they’re occupying as long as they remain compliant with all program requirements, according to the housing authority.