What is Family Self-Sufficiency?
Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is a voluntary program that provides Housing Choice Voucher participants the opportunity to achieve economic independence over a five-year period. This is achieved through the close assistance of a case manager who supports monitors and links up FSS families to public and private resources in the community.
What are the Responsibilities of the FSS Participants?
- Each participating family must sign a Contract of Participation that spells out their responsibilities and specific services to be provided through the program. The contract is for five years.
- An Action Plan is developed that documents the responsibilities the family must fulfill and sets specific, individual goals that the family works toward to become self-sufficient.
- The designated head of the household must participate in appropriate job training, attend school and/or be employed during the term of the contract.
- At the end of five years, in order to receive the monies held in an escrow savings account, the family must successfully complete their contract and withdraw from public assistance programs.
How CAN Families Benefit from FSS?
The Family Self-sufficiency Program gives families that have been struggling the opportunity to become economically independent. FSS is an innovative program designed to improve the quality of life for families caught in the cycle of poverty.
Families that participate in the FSS program gain skills that last a lifetime. This is a program that addresses the long-term needs of individuals living in poverty. Families have access to the supportive services they need to become self-sufficient, including:
- Job Training
- Life Skills Classes
- Child Care
- Support Groups
- Financial Guidance
- Opportunity to save for home ownership through an escrow account.
How Can Businesses and the Community Participate in the Success of FSS?
By combining private contributions and public resources, communities can offer a wide range of opportunities that can help families participating in the FSS program. Below are some examples:
- Contribute monetary donations.
- Volunteer time and talents.
- Provide apprenticeships/shadowing/mento ring opportunities.
- Donate equipment and vehicles.
- Provide sliding scale services.
- Sponsor and organize employment fairs.
- Offer business development and consultation.
- Provide scholarships and tuition assistance.
- Provide incentives to participants (e.g. restaurant coupons, merchandise and/or services).
- Assist in developing or providing creative loans.
- Consider hiring qualified FSS participants.
- Provide publicity about needs as well as accomplishments of the FSS program.
If you would like to assist with any of these programs or would like more information please contact Ms. Angela Davis, Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator at 703-792-7530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.