Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is a HUD program that encourages communities to develop local strategies to help assisted families obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. Public housing agencies (PHAs) work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program that gives participating FSS family members the skills and experience to enable them to obtain employment that pays a living wage.
What is the history of the FSS program? FSS was established in 1990 by Section 554 of the National Affordable Housing Act. It is one successor program to project self-sufficiency and operation bootstrap.
What services are provided through the FSS program?
1. Child care
4. Job training and employment counseling
5. Substance/alcohol abuse treatment or counseling
6. Household skill training
7. Homeownership counseling
8. Parenting skills
9. Healthy living
What requirements must a family meet to participate in the FSS program?
The PHA and the head of each participating family execute an FSS contract of participation that specifies the rights and responsibilities of both parties. The 5-year FSS contract specifies goals and services for each family. Family members must fulfill all requirements in order to obtain full benefits.
The FSS contract requires that the family comply with the lease, requiring that all family members become independent of welfare and that the head of the family seek and maintain suitable employment. Possible sanctions for non-compliance with the FSS contract are termination from the FSS program, forfeiture of the FSS escrow account, withholding or termination of supportive services, and termination of housing choice voucher assistance.
What is the FSS escrow account?
The PHA provides a credit to the escrow account, based on increases in earned income of the family, during the term of the FSS contract. The PHA may make a portion of this escrow account available to the family during the term of the contract to enable the family to complete an interim goal such as education.
If the family completes the contract and no member of the family is receiving welfare, the amount of the FSS escrow account is paid to the head of the family. If the PHA terminates the FSS contract, or if the family fails to complete the contract before its expiration, the family’s FSS escrow funds are forfeited.
Who is eligible to participate in the housing choice voucher FSS Program?
Families who receive assistance under the housing choice voucher program are eligible to participate in the FSS program.
How long does the FSS program last?
Participants have up to five years to reach self-sufficiency. Program completion occurs when the family head-of-household reaches his/her employment goal and the family has been welfare free for 12 consecutive months.
How can you sign-up for the FSS program?
To learn more about FSS, contact Ms. Green at (310) 605-6306.