Family self-sufficiency (FSS) is a HUD program that encourages communities to develop local strategies to help voucher families obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. Public housing agencies (PHAs) work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, 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. A separate program, the public housing FSS program, is available for public housing residents.
FSS program services may include, but are not limited to:
• child care
• job training and employment counseling
• substance/alcohol abuse treatment or counseling
• household skill training
• homeownership counseling
The FSS program is administered locally by public housing agencies (PHAs). Families who receive assistance under the HCV are eligible to participate in the FSS program. Participation of families in the FSS program is voluntary and cannot be a condition of receiving assistance under the housing choice voucher program. The PHA 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, 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 termination of supportive services, and termination of housing choice voucher assistance.