Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is a voluntary program for participants receiving HUD Section 8 Rental Assistance who wish to improve their financial situation, eliminate their dependence on public assistance and are motivated to change their lives. The program emphasizes educational and vocational training that lead to full time consistent employment.
Each FSS participant creates a maximum five-year plan that includes employment goals. They then, with the aid of the FSS Coordinator, identify the training or education needed to accomplish their goals. Through the provision of case management services, the FSS Coordinator works closely with each family individually to assess their strengths and identify barriers to self-sufficiency in order to better locate and arrange the services needed to accomplish their goals.
The Jackson Housing Authority partners with agencies and businesses throughout the community to coordinate services for participants. These services might include but are not limited to: child care, educational and vocational training, transportation, job placement, financial counseling, counseling, counseling for home buyers and personal money management.
What are the benefits to Participants?
Not only does the FSS Program offer participants an employment or education incentive but it offers them a savings incentive as well. As participants accomplish their employment goals and gain the education and skills needed to advance in employment their income increases. When income increases in subsidized housing, the portion of rent paid is increased. However, for FSS participants, the Housing Authority will put a portion of that increased rent into an escrow savings account.
What is the FSS escrow savings account?
Another benefit participating households receive is an interest-bearing escrow (savings) account that accrues as the household’s earned income increases. The account is held until the household successfully completes the participation contract and is able to function free of any federal or state welfare assistance for 12 consecutive months prior to the end of the contract. Once the household has successfully completed its five-year contract, the escrow account is theirs to use as they wish. As a household’s rent increases, due to an increase in earned income, a portion of the household’s rent increase is deposited into an escrow savings account. The household continues to pay the rent required by the increased income.
What are the Participants Responsibilities?
Participating FSS households must complete and sign a Contract of Participation. This contract outlines the household’s goals and describes the services needed to meet these goals. Participants are also responsible for maintaining contact with their coordinator every month. Each participant has five years to reach self-sufficiency.