Victoria Kavuanda entered the Family Self-Sufficiency program with clear goals in mind. Going to school full-time and working part-time, the mother of two wanted to finish her education and improve her credit while working towards home ownership.
The FSS program provides Fort Worth Housing Solutions residents a pathway toward full-time employment, higher incomes and less dependency on financial assistance. Participants set a five-year career and financial plan.
Case managers support residents by connecting them with services and resources they need to succeed. As a resident of Ironwood Crossing, Kavuanda first entered the FSS program in 2012 and finished her time in 2017.
She re-entered the program in 2019 while living in the Aventine Apartments and graduated in 2021. She studied nursing and graduated from TCC and West Coast University-Dallas, and is currently a nurse at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center-Fort Worth.
Kavuanda, 52, benefited greatly from the financial classes offered in the FSS program.
“It helped me create a budget and do better with my budgeting, and also fix my credit,” he said. “I was going to hire someone to fix my credit, but they guided me to do that.”
Kavuanda moved to the United States from Congo 22 years ago and has lived in the Fort Worth area for 13 years. She qualified for a Housing Choice Voucher while living in Aventine for the last seven years with her two daughters.
“I wanted to be a nurse so having a [housing voucher] helped me,” she said. “I was able to go to school full-time when I was in the program. I didn’t have to work full-time.”
FWHS FSS Specialist Nicole Rubio worked with Kavuanda, and is especially proud of her accomplishments. Both of Kavuanda’s daughters have also graduated from college.
“She has a great story that was always focused on education,” Rubio said. “It took time, but she stuck with it and earned her bachelors in 2018. Then she studied up and passed the (National Council Licensure exam) a few months later. After her internships, she entered the medical field as a nurse right at the beginning of the pandemic.”
As part of the FSS program, an interest-bearing escrow account is established for each participating family. Monthly contributions are made to the account based on increases in rent that a tenant would typically pay as their income increases.
Kavuanda graduated from the program and received an escrow payment of $4,900 that she may use for any purpose. Along with her savings, Kavuanda plans to apply the escrow payment to a home purchase. The housing market has made that search difficult, but she’s undeterred.
Her perseverance has taken Kavuanda a long way. The FSS program played an important role in that journey.
“The program was definitely helpful,” she said. “I was able to go to all the classes. It helped me with budgeting and savings accounts. That’s what I liked about the program.”
Learn more about the FSS program at www.fwhs.org/family-self-sufficiency/.