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State program helping Siouxland families become self-sufficient expands

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Paula Khatchatourian and her son. Their family has been helped by the Community Action Agency of Siouxland through FaDSS.

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - An Iowa program which helps families succeed and reach goals is expanding in Siouxland thanks to a million dollars in funding set aside by state lawmakers.

The program is the Family Development and Self-Sufficiency Program (FaDSS) through the Community Action Agency of Siouxland.

The program previously served 41 families in the area, now it can serve 63 families thanks to the extra nearly $300,000. The CAA will also hire two additional specialists to work with families.

Executive Director Jean Logan emphasized FaDSS isn't a hand-out, but a hand-up.

"It is probably important to know important about the agency that we do both emergency assistance and we also do longer-term programs that allow us to engage with families and strengthen that family and help them meet their goals," said Logan.

One of the families served by FaDSS is Paula Khatchatourian and her three-year-old son. Paula is a survivor of domestic violence, and now a dreaming entrepreneur. If you asked her two years ago if she would be where she is now, her answer is unsure.

"I'd be back at square one depending on people, not really moving or getting myself to go moving or bouncing around from shelter to shelter," said Paula.

Paula credits a few Siouxland programs to getting her new life started, one being FaDSS.

Paula works two part-time jobs, is a full-time mom, but she is working toward more in life.

"I can do this. I have what it takes to be able to do this and have a good job, good food, good schooling for your kid, good schooling for yourself if you want to continue going to school, a car or a bus pass," said Paula.

Paula's dream is to open her own business, which she is currently saving money for.

"Hopefully at some point I would like to be own self-sufficient business owner, because I am an animal groomer by trade, I have been an animal groomer for ten years since I was 19," said Paula.

Paula said she couldn't have taken these steps without the helping hands of Siouxland.

"You don't know where you're going to go until you take your first step. I didn't know where I was going to end up, now I'm living in my own apartment that I pay for myself," said Paula.

For more information on FaDSS and the Community Action Agency Of Siouxland, click here.

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Claire Bradshaw

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