Area Single Mom Aims to Move Out of Public Housing

An area town is pocketing more money to help families get off welfare and become financially independent.

More than $40,000 in new grant money will reportedly go a long way toward helping people like Clovis mom Kelah Sephus achieve something they've never had. Kelah Sephus looks forward to having her own kitchen some day. She currently lives in public housing with her son.  A local family self-sufficiency program is helping her save up for her own place. "After my five years I'll have some money, I can put a down payment on a house," Sephus says.

That family self-sufficiency program puts Sephus and others on an education and savings plan to leave welfare behind in five years. "They're finally able to have something they could say, 'hey look, I am successful in life,'" notes Waymon Dowdy of the Clovis Housing Agency. He says with new grant money, his agency can now help about twice as many people move out of public housing and off of government assistance. "People have dreams, they would like to reach certain dreams in life and when you can't reach those dreams, it create problems," says Dowdy.

"The prospect of owning a bigger home to share with her son is worth the wait for Sephus.  Without the rental assistance from the Clovis housing agency, she says home ownership would stay out of reach. "I would not have been able to put anything up. We'd be here forever. And you always want something more." Dowdy says about 531 people qualify for the help to make their way out of welfare. He adds lowest-income families have priority, but no family is turned away.