The Kennewick Housing Authority has started a scholarship program to help encourage family self-sufficiency for its clients.
The first three $500 scholarships were awarded last week.
One student, Abdullah Abdullah, a refugee from another country, will attend Columbia Basin College in Pasco to study cybersecurity.
Another student, Raymond Garcia, who was raised by a single mom, also will attend CBC to study engineering technology, with the goal of transferring to Washington State University Tri-Cities after earning an associate degree.
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The third, Shari Ann Davis, who was a certified nurse's assistant until she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, is in her second year taking online classes through the University of Phoenix with the aim of becoming a social services worker.
Having a scholarship program isn't uncommon for housing authorities, said Lona Hammer, the housing authority's executive director.
Hammer, who came to the Kennewick Housing Authority less than a year ago from Alaska Housing Finance Corp., said it was a program they had there for many years.
"It really encouraged residents to go to school, to continue their education," she said.
The scholarships were announced to all of the housing authority's public housing clients and Section 8 Housing Choice voucher participants earlier this year.
The housing authority only received three applications. But Hammer said all three were strong applicants with compelling stories. The staff sent them to the housing authority's board with an unanimous recommendation for approval.
The scholarships will be paid directly to the school, Hammer said.
The housing authority plans to accept scholarship applications next spring. Up to four would be awarded. They hope to see more interest from clients next year.
-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org