FSS Participant? Fill out your monthly goal sheet here!
Helping Families In Our Community Achieve Self Sufficiency.
Where do you imagine yourself in 5 years? A new job? A finished degree? Moving towards home ownership?
The Family Self-Sufficiency Program is a 5-year work and saving program for families receiving housing assistance.
Working with a dedicated FSS Coordinator, program participants set long term and short term goals that will increase their ability to earn a greater income and move toward self-sufficiency.
Participants in the FSS program have earned higher education and training, built a savings account, bought a reliable vehicle, secured new work, and more! FSS Coordinators help participants identify obstacles, set targets, and move closer to where they want to be.
Earning money through an escrow account or Goal Rewards Program
Every FSS participant has the opportunity to grow a personal savings account over the 5-year program. Currently, money can be saved monthly with on-time rent payments through the escrow account system.
As our organization becomes a Move to Work agency, we will move to a Goal Rewards system. In this system, one can earn immediate cash rewards by achieving specific goals that help them become self-sufficient.
Participants in the FSS program have earned higher education, received job training, earned higher-paying jobs, obtained vehicles, and more! The FSS Coordination connects you to community resources such as
• Education, Employment, and Job Training
• Day Care, Transportation- Counseling, parenting, substance/alcohol treatment
• Financial Literacy, Budgeting, Credit repair, Homeownership
FSS Participant Julie with a van she received from our non-profit transportation partner Way to Go. December 2020.
FSS Graduate Alina who worked in the program to raise her credit, secure a good job, and graduate with savings (escrow)! April 2021.
FSS Participant Cora with her kids at an FSS Halloween Party. We host events and workshops throughout the year. October 2020.
View the FSS Brochure
What is the FSS Program?
The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a grant funded initiative to help HUD-assisted families and individuals receive the support they need to increase their earnings, save for the future, and achieve self-sufficiency. HRHA’s FSS Coordinators work individual with participants to create a plan for self-sufficiency and connect them with supportive service and employment resources to achieve their goal.
Residents of Franklin Heights and Harrison Heights, as well as 30 HCV families, are eligible to participate in FSS. To register, contact the FSS Coordinators at (540) 437-9545.
What are the program requirements?
Each participant in the program agrees to the following foundational goals, to help them achieve self-sufficiency:
- Pay rent on time each month
- Turn in the Monthly Goal Sheet on or before the 10th of each month.
- Keep unit clean, both inside and out
- Report changes in income or family composition to Housing Authority staff within 10 business days of the change
- All changes MUST be turned in at the Main HRHA office
- Work at least 20 hours per week OR attend school full-time
As an FSS participant, you’ll meet with our FSS Coordinators to create an action plan to help you meet those goals and have the support you need along the way. We’re here to help you achieve self-sufficiency!
What are some of the benefits of the FSS Program?
There are many benefits to participating in the FSS Program. Participants who are actively involved in the FSS program have several benefits available to them:
- Learn how to create and use a monthly budget
- Assistance with employment, from help with a job search to workshops to improve your resume writing and interview skills
- Get connected to local financial partners who can help you with credit counseling and repair
- Referrals to support services resources available in our community
- Assistance with transportation issues, from accessing bus passes, receiving gas vouchers, help with paying a repair bill, or getting connected to Way2Go
- Ability to earn escrow and option to use earned escrow to pay for emergency situations or to help attain self-sufficiency. (NOTE: Request for funds is subject to approval by FSS Coordinator and the Executive Director.)
What is an escrow account?
By participating in the FSS program, you can earn money as you increase your wages! When entering the program, the participant’s escrow account will be established based on their rent at the time of the contract. As a participant in the program, if your income goes up, your rent will go up. The good news for FSS participants is that the amount of the increase in family rent resulting from an increase in earned income (pay increase) is escrowed. There are other factors that affect the family rent, therefore the escrowed amount will not necessarily be dollar-for-dollar. If during the contract term the family rent becomes less than the original rent on the effective date of the contract, there is no escrow credit.
FSS accounts are maintained by HRHA and distributed after successful completion of the program. You may use escrow funds while you are participating in the program for activities that will help you achieve and/or maintain self-sufficiency provided that you are actively earning escrow and working to meet your established goals.
How long does the program last?
You will complete the program at the end of your five year contract with FSS.
If you have met all of the goals that you established for yourself, you are eligible to graduate from the program and receive any escrow that you have earned during your time with the program. This money can be used as a down payment on a home, to purchase a new car, to continue your education or to clean up any remaining credit issues.
It is possible to complete the program and graduate early if you have met all of your goals and are no longer eligible to receive a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). You can do this by increasing your income to the point where you are able to pay full market rent for your home.
We have helped many local families become self-sufficient and we want to help you, too!