ROSS Program

A HUD-Funded and MHA-Sponsored Resident Self-sufficiency Program

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.”
—Keri Russell

The Resident Opportunity Self-Sufficiency program (ROSS) is sponsored by the Missoula Housing Authority with funding from HUD (the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development). This program supports Public Housing residents by linking them with valuable community resources so they can obtain economic self-sufficiency, independence, improved quality of life, and in some cases so they can maintain stable housing as they age.

ROSS provides referrals for resources on a variety of issues, including:

  • G.E.D./College Prep
  • Adult Computer Classes
  • Childcare
  • Credit Issues
  • Community Service
  • Educational Goals
  • Employment Readiness
  • Financial Literacy
  • Housing
  • Home-ownership Counseling
  • Identity Theft Issues
  • Disability Counseling
  • Support Services
  • Nutrition
  • Food
  • Mediation between Neighbors
  • Family Meeting Facilitation
  • Leadership Development
  • Healthcare
  • Medicaid and Medicare Assistance
  • Native American Services
  • Accessibility Resources
  • Help with Forms
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Taxes
  • Senior Employment
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Empowerment
  • Youth Development Programs
  • Parent Education
  • Transportation
  • Veterans’ Issues
  • Fair Housing Concerns
  • Brain Injury
  • Low Sight and Hearing Assistance

Meet Your ROSS Coordinator

Ellie Greenwood

BaileyHi, my name is Ellie Greenwood and I am the ROSS Coordinator. I have been working with the ROSS program since June 2009. I have been living and working in Missoula for eighteen years. I am originally from Colorado. I have two grown-up kids, and a wonderful golden retriever, Bailey. I love to watch the Clark Fork River and surrounding hills change throughout the seasons. I can be particularly helpful to Public Housing residents who are trying to find their way through the court system. I am also able to connect residents with various community organizations. I am here to help you develop an action plan for getting started on your health, employment, or educational goals, or even to help you set up your community service hours!


The ROSS program works with local service providers and organizations that provide Public Housing residents with information and referrals for low-cost or no-cost assistance.

ROSS Program Partners

  • Aging Services
  • Child Care Resources
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Summit Independent Living Center
  • Missoula Food Bank
  • The Poverello Center
  • Animeals
  • Missoula Public Library
  • Missoula in Motion
  • Voc Rehab
  • Head Start
  • Medicaid
  • Life Long Learning Center
  • The College of Technology
  • Educational Opportunity Center
  • Rural Institute
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • The University of Montana
  • Community Circles
  • Consumer Credit Counseling
  • Human Resource Council
  • National Coalition Building Institute
  • Winds of Change
  • Western Montana Mental Health
  • Office of Public Assistance
  • The Self-Help Legal Clinic
  • Child Support Division
  • The Parenting Place
  • Crime Victims Advocate
  • District, Justice, and Municipal Court
  • Animal Control
  • Saint Patrick Hospital
  • Extension Program
  • Homeword
  • WORD
  • YWCA
  • YMCA
  • Missoula Parks and Recreation
  • Flagship Afterschool Programs

ROSS in Action

Anya is a bright, busy single mom and current Public Housing resident. At her annual recertification, Anya expressed an interest in going back to school sometime in the future. The Program Specialist offered to refer Anya to the Resident Opportunity Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) program, where she could get some help putting her education goals into action. If Anya decided to go back to school, they could even help her with the process of applying. Anya told the Program Specialist she was interested and to please refer her.

The Ross program received Anya’s referral and called her to set up a meeting. During the first fifteen minutes of the meeting, the ROSS Coordinator explained how the ROSS program works and then Anya and the coordinator filled out a brief intake form to enroll Anya in the program. During the meeting Anya and the coordinator talked about her educational goals and her aspirations. Anya said that she was interested in becoming a nurse and the coordinator started looking for referrals that matched Anya’s interest. The ROSS Coordinator located all the schools in the area that offered nursing degrees and then contacted the schools and made a list of phone numbers of advisors in the nursing departments. The coordinator also looked into financial assistance for Anya.

When the research was completed, the coordinator called Anya and scheduled a second meeting. When Anya and the coordinator met again, the coordinator had all the information she had found for Anya. Together Anya and the coordinator went over the school options, looked at the people she should talk to, and discussed financial aid options available to Anya. Excited with all of the information that the ROSS Coordinator was able to provide, Anya referred her friend and neighbor Rebecca, another Public Housing resident, to the ROSS program.

After Anya told Rebecca about the ROSS program, Rebecca called and scheduled an appointment of her own to discuss her educational goals. It turned out that Rebecca also was interested in going to nursing school! Rebecca was given all the same referrals as Anya and together they began navigating the University system with each other’s support. A significant barrier to attending school for both Anya and Rebecca was their need for quality child care close by. The coordinator suggested they apply for the ASUM child care program affiliated with the University.

After exploring all their options, Anya and Rebecca decided to apply for the spring semester at the University of Montana. With the help of the ROSS program, they both were able to apply for financial assistance, locate child care at ASUM, and sign up for the college prep class at the Life Long Learning Center before beginning classes at the University. Now Anya and Rebecca are both students at the University of Montana and are on their way to achieving their educational goals and obtaining degrees in nursing.

This story is a good example of how the program works. Anya was referred to the program by the Public Housing Program Specialist during her annual recertification. Anya and Rebecca enrolled in the program and identified their goals, and the ROSS Coordinator researched and found resources in the community to help them work towards their goals.

The ROSS Coordinator supported both residents and made suggestions and referrals for nursing programs, child care, and financial aid. Both residents are on the road to a better more self-sufficient life. They are following their desire to become nurses and creating sustainable career paths for themselves. YEAH for Anya and Rebecca!!

Does this story inspire you? Do you need some support getting started on your goals? Contact the ROSS program! We will be happy to assist you!

How to Get Started with the Ross Program

  1. Referral (you can refer yourself!)
  2. The ROSS Program Coordinator will call you and schedule an appointment, or you can call her.
  3. Meet with a ROSS Coordinator for a 15-20 minute enrollment process.

It’s easy to sign up for the ROSS program


Public Housing residents can be referred to the ROSS program in a couple of different ways. The most popular way is through the Assets department (through the Program Specialist). Often residents realize during their annual recertification with the Program Specialist that they want or need to work on a personal goal to achieve more self-sufficiency. When this happens, the Program Specialist fills out a referral to the ROSS program and has the resident sign it. Once the referral is signed, it is taken down the hall to the ROSS program office. After discussing the referral, one of the ROSS Coordinators will call and schedule an appointment to meet with the resident. A neighbor or a satisfied ROSS participant can also refer you to the program, in which case you can call us and set up an appointment to meet with us.


Any Public Housing resident can call any time to schedule an appointment to meet with a Ross Coordinator. The program is open to everyone in the Public Housing Program and enrollment in the program is completely voluntary.


Once your appointment has been scheduled, the next step is easy—meet with the ROSS Coordinator! We can meet with you at our office, at your unit, or at a public location that is convenient for you. During the first appointment we will take 5 or 10 minutes to explain how the program works. If you are interested in working with the ROSS program (for free!), we will take the next 10 minutes to fill out the program intake and then we will discuss what goals you are interested in working on first.

That’s it! It’s as easy as ONE TWO THREE!

Three Great Reasons to Enroll in the ROSS Program

  1. It’s FREE!
  2. You identify the goals you want to work on.
  3. You get one-on-one assistance and support from a ROSS Coordinator to find free and low-cost resources to help you achieve your goals!

If you are having a hard time getting up in morning, wishing your life were different; wishing your life were easier and not so complicated or if you’re not sure whether you want to take a walk, or watch YouTube Videos all morning… Watch this YouTube video! You will see someone who has not given up! Someone who is doing something miraculous that makes him feel a lot better about himself. After you watch this video you will feel:

  • Motivated to do something to make yourself feel better.
  • Take action in your own life
  • And Like you want to take that walk after all!