Mayor Vincent C. Gray

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July 18, 2011

Mayor Vincent C. Gray Launches TANF Sweat Equity Program 

Pilot Program Designed to Teach TANF Recipients Construction and Life Skills

Media Contacts

(WASHINGTON, DC) — Today Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the DC Department of Human Services (DHS) Income Maintenance Administration launched the agency’s “Sweat Equity” program for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) clients.

The program is an integrated employment/case-management pilot program for homeless TANF recipients. The program was developed by the DHS in partnership with The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness and the United Planning Organization. It is operating in conjunction with the DC Department of Real Estate Services (DRES).


“The program we are formally launching today is a true model for how governments can engage residents, agencies and the private sector in attacking some of our most intractable problems in ways that serve the good of the entire community,” said Mayor Gray. “The ‘Sweat Equity’ program is bringing clients out of homelessness and arming them with work and life skills to help ensure that they don’t fall back through the holes in our safety net.”

The goal of the “Sweat Equity” pilot program is to build a network of TANF recipients -- including homeless and formerly homeless TANF clients -- and provide training in construction trades as well as life skills. The program will provide education and work experience to enable TANF clients to obtain higher wages, sustainable employment, and enhanced skills for higher degrees of self-sufficiency and independence from public assistance.

Using the authority to renovate vacant DC buildings for homeless clients using Housing Trust Fund funding, DHS hopes to replicate this program in other renovation projects.
“We are excited at the prospect of establishing this pilot program to assist in transitioning more TANF families toward self-sufficiency. It is the culmination of ideas, planning and commitment by a small dedicated group of professionals who desire to improve the lives of District residents,” said DHS Income Maintenance Administrator Deborah Carroll.

The Sweat Equity pilot program is part of the DHS effort to redesign its TANF program to enhance the ability of the customer to build his/her capacity, increase their earnings and successfully transition from welfare assistance to self-sufficiency. The primary focus of the redesign is building a system that considers the personal responsibility and individual needs of the customers and providing tailored services to match the customer’s unique goals and personal and family circumstances.

Learn more:

DC program offers "sweat equity"
CNN's Athena Jones looks at a novel program in DC aimed at giving people jobs, homes and a way off public assistance.