Section 3 Jobs
The potential for public housing not only to provide shelter for low-income people but also to generate jobs and economic opportunity in low-income communities has long been recognized. Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) annually receive billions of dollars in federal housing assistance for the maintenance and modernization of existing housing stock and the development of new housing. But how best to ensure that low-income residents of these neighborhoods can benefit from the resulting economic activity has continued to elude housing policymakers and practitioners.
HUD, in conjunction with local housing authorities, has implemented a variety of initiatives designed to increase economic opportunity for residents. These efforts often consist of employment and training programs, a “supply-side” strategy that focuses on preparing residents for obtaining whatever jobs are available. The other side of the economic opportunity coin consists of “demand-side” strategies that seek to leverage economic activity created by federal funding to increase access to employment and business opportunities for residents. Ideally, a comprehensive resident economic opportunity strategy would consist of both sides working in tandem.
Congress passed a series of amendments designed to strengthen an economic opportunity program called Section 3. The law, among other things, now mandates that to the greatest extent feasible, economic opportunities created by HUD funding for the operation, development, and modernization of public housing be steered to low- and very low-income people, especially public housing residents. These opportunities can take the form of training and employment services for residents or contracting preferences for certain classes of businesses those employing large numbers of residents or those owned by residents.
I recently developed a new website, www.piercecountysection3.com, to assist section 3 eligible workers connect with opportunities through Tacoma Housing Authority, Pierce County Housing Authority, City of Tacoma, and other HUD funding recipients. Individually, these projects account for small groups of job and contract opportunities for residents. This website attempts to pool all of those small groups of opportunities together to create a larger pool of economic development opportunities and allow residents to easily find and apply for positions. It also helps workforce development organizations connect section 3 eligible clients who have completed pre-apprenticeship training to current opportunities available throughout our region. The website is a new tool, but be on the look out for new job listings as they become available.
In addition, we are creating a work ready candidate roster to help connect workers directly with contractors. If you know someone who has experience in construction or has recently completed training, they can register here to be on our contact list for future projects and opportunities. Employers will have access to their contact information, resume, and skills and will contact candidates directly.