HUD Expands Family Self-Sufficiency Program
In HUD Notice H-2016-08, HUD announced that owners of privately owned apartment buildings under Section 8 contract can now offer Family Self-Sufficiency. 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.
Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is a HUD program that provides incentives and supports to help families living in assisted housing increase their earned income and reduce their dependence on public assistance programs. 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.
Under FSS, households establish goals and sign a contract with the owner for up to five years. The contract requires 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. When a household meets its goals in the FSS contract, it is eligible to receive funds deposited for it in an escrow account. Under the Section 8 program, when a household’s income increases the share of their income that goes to rent normally increases. But under FSS that increase is instead put into their escrow account. Once a household completes the FSS program, the amount in their escrow account may be used for any purpose. Contracts may be extended for up to two years if the head of household suffers a serious illness or involuntarily loses a job.
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.