A new federal program to prevent homelessness in American Samoa and offer assistance to families unable to pay their rent is being offered for the first time.
The Office of Catholic Social Services has been awarded a 393,000 US dollar grant by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to carry out the programme.
The Director of Catholic Social Services, Cecilia Solofa, says the programme is intended to help families who are not able to pay their rent or utilities because they have lost jobs due to the closure of the Samoa Packing cannery and the effects of the economic recession.
Mrs Solofa says the rental assistance is temporary and will last no more than 5 months.
She says it is designed to help families get back on their feet and may be used to train people for new jobs and find ways to earn a living.