Family Self-Sufficiency

Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is a HUD program for Housing Choice Voucher Program participants which encourages communities to develop local strategies to help voucher holders obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. A separate program is available for public housing residents.

FSS requires that the head of household execute a FSS Contract of Participation that listing the rights and responsibilities of the voucher holder and HCH. This contract has a maximum 5-year time period and lists the goals and services need to achieve those goals to achieve their goals. The goals must be based on education, transportation, employment and homeownership. Family members must fulfill all requirements in order to obtain full benefits, including the escrow savings account.

An escrow savings account is an interest-bearing account established by HCH for each eligible participating family. The escrow amount is based on increases in the participant’s earned income, which usually results in the family paying more rent. This difference is placed in the account. Fulfillment of all requirements includes the family complying with the lease, all family members becoming independent of welfare, and the head of household seeking and maintaining suitable employment. Noncompliance with the FSS contract can result in program termination, loss of the escrow savings account, withholding or the termination of supportive services, and termination of voucher assistance.

The participant must successfully achieve all contracted goals to graduate from the FSS Program and be awarded the escrow savings account.

FSS program participants that port/transfer to Howard County may be eligible to be absorbed by Howard County to continue their FSS participation. This is dependent upon the availability of funding in Howard County. If the porting program participant cannot be initially absorbed, then they can continue to work with the sending jurisdiction until such time that funds become available.