FSS Program Overview

What is the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program?

Family self-sufficiency (FSS) is a HUD program which was established in 1990 by Section 554 of National Affordable Housing Act 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 (PHA’s) work with welfare agencies, schools, business, 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.


The purpose of FSS is to promote the development of local strategies to coordinate the use of public housing assistance and housing assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program with public and private resources, to enable families eligible to receive assistance under these programs to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency.

The objective of the FSS program is to reduce the dependency of low income families on welfare assistance and on Section 8, public, or any Federal, State, or local rent or home ownership subsidies. Under the FSS program, low income families are provided opportunities for education, job training, counseling, and other forms of social service assistance, while living in assisted housing, so that they may obtain the education, employment, and business and social skills necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. The success of the FSS is measured by the number of families who achieve self-sufficiency and by the number of families who, as a result of participating in the program, have family members who obtain their first job, or who obtain higher paying jobs; no longer need benefits received under one or more welfare programs; obtain a high school diploma or higher education degree; or accomplish similar goals that will assist the family in obtaining economic independence.

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Additional Information:

FSS Flyer (English) (pdf)

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FSS Flyer (Spanish) (pdf)

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FSS program services may include, but not limited to:

 

  • Child Care
  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Job Training and Employment Counseling
  • Household Skill Training
  • Homeownership Counseling


The Escrow Account

The JCHA will establish an interest bearing escrow account into which the JCHA will make monthly deposits on behalf of the family. The amount of the monthly escrow credit will be determined based on any increase in rent paid by the family because of increases in earned income. The JCHA will cease making credits to a family escrow account when the family has completed the Contract of Participation. The participant’s ability to access FSS escrow funds would be contingent upon meeting FSS Program and Contract goals.

 

What Families Are Eligible To Participate In The Program?

Families who receive HUD assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program are eligible to participate in the FSS program.


Who Administers The FSS Program?

The FSS program is administered by the JCHA Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program. The JCHA establishes an FSS program coordinating committee and develops an FSS action plan and FSS program policies, obtain public and private supportive services funding and commitments, and oversee the overall implementation of the FSS program.


How Do Families Apply To Participate In The FSS Program?

Families who are eligible to participate in the FSS program should contact their Leasing Specialist to discuss participation on the program.


What Requirements Must A Family Meet To Participate In FSS?

The JCHA 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, that all family members become independent of welfare cash assistance, and that the head of the family seek and maintain suitable employment. Possible sanctions for noncompliance with the FSS contract are termination from the FSS program, forfeiture of the FSS escrow account, withholding or terminations of supportive services.


Can JCHA Require Families To Participate In FSS?

No. Participation in the FSS program is voluntary and cannot be a condition of receiving HUD-assisted housing.


Does A Family Have To Give Up Its Rental Assistance After The Family Completes The FSS Program?

No. Although it is hoped that families will no longer need housing assistance upon completion of the FSS program, some families that complete the program will still need assistance for housing. The law provides that a family may complete its FSS contract and receive its escrow while continuing to receive housing assistance.


 

ANDREA TELEZ
Family Self Sufficiency Program Coordinator
Jersey City Housing Authority
Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program
400 US HWY # 1 (Marion Gardens)
Jersey City, New Jersey 07306
atelez@jcha.us (email)
201-706-4672 (phone)
551-256-7736/7737 (fax) 

Additional Information:

FSS Brochure (pdf)

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FSS Interest Form (pdf)

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