A four-year-old self-sufficiency program involving a city-state partnership is helping low-income Salt Lake residents get off welfare rolls and into mainstream society, officials said.

Partners in Self-Sufficiency is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program enlisting the help of the Salt Lake City Housing Authority to assist low-income residents toward economic independence, HUD said.The program "represent(s) a potential breakthrough in ending the cycle of dependence for families served by HUD's assisted housing programs," said HUD Sect. Samuel Pierce, in a prepared release.

Seventy low-income households in Salt Lake City receive rental subsidies through the program, Assistant Housing Authority Director Chris Sheafor said.

Additionally, Housing Authority officials work with other agencies - such as Salt Lake Community College - to help clients develop job skills and find jobs, Sheafor said.

"Most people on the program would like to improve their living situation, and this encourages them to get off this program and to better their positions," he said.

The program also benefits the Housing Authority because it helps people get off Housing Authority assistance, enabling the Housing Authority to offer assistance to other low-income clients, Sheafor said.

The program is also flexible enough to allow community agencies to identify specific needs and work closely with other community agencies so the community can develop an effective "tailor-made" program, he said.

Salt Lake City's program was successful enough to earn recognition for their self-sufficiency program at this falls Partners in Self-Sufficiency Roundtable, a HUD conference in Washington, D.C., Sheafor said.

More than 150 communities throughout the nation are serving as "demonstration sites" for the the self-sufficiency programs, Pierce said.