Breanna Oronigo has been honored as the first graduate of the Northern Marianas Housing Corp.’s Family Self-Sufficient Program, which is a voluntary program designed to assist families in becoming economically dependent.
The NMHC board of directors, corporate director Jesse S. Palacios, and deputy corporate director Zenie P. Mafnas, along with NMHC staff, presented Oronigo with a certificate of completion last July 21, 2021.
With the support of local agencies, FSS combines case management, education, job training, and ongoing support to aid a family in improving their lives and to achieve complete financial independence within five years. The main requirements are the desire to become self-sufficient and a commitment to take the steps necessary to make this happen.
Eligible participants are those who are currently receiving rental assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher Program and are the head of household and 18 years of age or older.
A great benefit to the FSS program is that recipients, who pay a rent share, receive an interest-bearing escrow account. The account accrues as the household’s portion accrues as the household’s portion of rent increases because of an increase in earned income. The account is held until the participant successfully completes the contract.
Oronigo, with a household of six, was an HCVP recipient for a year when she voluntarily enrolled into the FSS program in February 2018. Since then, she worked diligently with housing specialist Nanette Palacios and FSS coordinator Doraine Camacho in meeting her program goals.
Oronigo, the head of household, and her spouse, Dalmacio Damian, were proactive in seeking employment, which was their foremost goal. With patience and the drive to successfully complete the program, Oronigo was able to gain employment as a statistical technician with the CNMI Department of Commerce in March 2018, and her spouse was also able to secure a job with Docomo Pacific Saipan in November 2018. They devoted time and effort to be self-sufficient and independent, so that they aren’t reliant on welfare assistance for the rest of their lives. Both Oronigo and her spouse wanted to set an example for their children that with hard work and determination, they are able to achieve self-sufficiency and economic independence.
One of the ways to complete an FSS contract is when 30% of the participant’s adjusted income exceeds the HUD fair market rent for the household.
With Oronigo’s and Damian’s added income into the household, their contract was deemed completed, and therefore have graduated from the FSS program. “To everyone I have met and interacted with from NMHC, for the past three and a half years, you all played a role in my life and were a part of this journey that I achieved successfully,” Oronigo said. “I wholeheartedly thank you.”
During the presentation, NMHC board chair Marcie M. Tomokane and other board members conveyed their congratulatory remarks to the family and commended them for their outstanding achievement. “This is a monumental moment for NMHC and Ms. Oronigo and her family. We are extremely proud of Ms. Oronigo for being the first participant to complete the FSS Program. She truly represents determination, motivation, and the grit to accomplish her goals,” said Tomokane.
NMHC continues to encourage HCVP participants to enroll in the FSS program and continue to work with the current 30 households to successfully compete the program, so that such families, aside from becoming self-sufficient, are also able to increase financial and housing stability. In Oronigo’s case, she can use the money she received from the FSS program to purchase new appliances and furniture for her family’s new house. (PR)