The HUD Secretary's Opportunity & Empowerment Award honors excellence in community planning that has led to measurable benefits in terms of increased economic development, employment, education, or housing choice and mobility for low- and moderate-income residents. The award stresses tangible results and recognizes the planning discipline as an important community resource. It emphasizes how creative housing, economic development, and private investments are used in, or in tandem with, a comprehensive community development plan.
The Family Scholar House in Louisville is a program that provides educational and other services to empower families to achieve financial independence, and it is the 2019 recipient of the HUD Secretary’s Opportunity and Empowerment Award. The Award was presented in April at the American Planning Association’s National Planning Awards luncheon, which took place during the 2019 National Planning Conference held in San Francisco, California.
The Family Scholar House (FSH) program was initially founded in 1995 as Project Women, but was renamed to more accurately reflect the program’s broader mission to end the cycle of poverty for low-income families. The program provides more than 9,000 people each year with services ranging from job training, transportation, and child care to connecting families with affordable housing and mental health service providers. FSH also offers a host of financial services, such as credit repair and asset building. A decade ago, the Louisville Scholar House became FSH’s first location.
The high percentages of participants who have found stable housing and stable employment after exiting the program demonstrates the success of FSH. The program’s measurable benefits also include improvements in educational attainment among children in participating families.