CHICAGO (CBS) — The Altgeld Gardens public housing development on the South Side has been awarded $3 million by the federal government to use to train residents for the workforce and eventual self-sufficiency.

According to the CHA vice president Mary Howard, the unemployment rate in Altgeld Gardens is said to be more than 50%. The new federal Jobs Plus program is expected to land 451 residents in jobs.

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“There’s not a lot of jobs in the area that are your entry-level jobs, so this is going to allow us to provide specific training, so that they are competitive for those jobs that are out there,” she said.

Altgeld Gardens resident and Local Advisory Council president Bernadette Williams said a benefit of the program is it includes freezing the rents of people who get jobs, giving them an opportunity to save a little money, and eventually move out of CHA.

“I’m very excited. The residency here is very excited. With the 400 people who’s out of work, this is really going to help them,” she said.

CHA chief executive officer Michael Merchant said the idea is to eventually get people to move out of CHA to give someone else a chance.

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“This program is going to allow us to really focus on increasing people’s potential to reaching self-sufficiency,” he said

Officials said people who took part in a pilot program saw their incomes climb 14% and more.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Antonio Riley said it’s an “evidence-based program” that has seen some good results. He said the idea is to give people the potential to eventually move out of public housing.

“Public housing and government assistance should not be a way of life, it should be a second chance,” he said.

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Meantime, Merchant said, work will begin in the near future on more than 200 vacant units now boarded up Altgeld Gardens, so the apartments can be made livable once again, and people can move into them.