Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) is a HUD program that provides incentives and supports to help families living in multifamily assisted housing to increase their earned income and reduce their dependence on public assistance programs.
According to HUD, “FSS promotes the development of local strategies to coordinate the use of HUD rental assistance programs with public and private resources, to enable eligible families to make progress toward economic independence and self-sufficiency.”
Section 8 is great
As it stands, owners of privately owned apartment buildings under Section 8 contract can now offer Family Self-Sufficiency programs to the more than one million households living in their properties. By it’s own accord, HUD “will now allow owners of multifamily properties to use funding from residual receipt accounts to hire service coordinators for their own Family Self-Sufficiency program.”
HUD’s 33 page page notice to multi-family property owners points out that “Residents who choose to participate in HUD’s FSS program will be paired with service coordinators who will guide them in developing self-sufficiency goals.”
They will also sign a five-year contract requiring the head of the household to obtain employment and for all family members to be free of public assistance for one year before the contract ends.
Building assets to build a future
In addition, states the latest HUD press release, “service providers will help participating residents to establish an interest-bearing escrow account. Deposits to this account occur when the family’s rent increases as a result of higher earned income during the contract period.”
Upon graduation from this program, the family may use the escrow funds to build assets, such as a down payment on a home.
During the first year of its expanded reach, the Family Self-Sufficiency program has the potential to impact thousands of families nationwide.
HUD evaluated the original format of the FSS program in 2011 and found that participants who completed the program were more likely to be employed and to earn higher incomes. HUD continues to evaluate the program and anticipates sharing updated findings by 2018.