Family Self-Sufficiency Program

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 higher 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 their goals. In our goals rewards program, program participants can earn up to $14,250! Contact us at 540-434-7386 to enroll today!

Program Benefits

Previously, money was saved monthly basis with on-time rent payments through the escrow account system, and it remains that way for FSS legacy participants. 

Our organization has now become a Move to Work agency and has moved to a Goal Rewards system. In this system, people can earn cash rewards by achieving specific goals that help them become self-sufficient.

Service Coordination

Participants in the FSS program have pursued higher education opportunities, 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

HRHA Money Smart Club

The HRHA Money Smart Youth Club aims to provide an opportunity for families to start talking about money management to their children to help youth build financial skills and acquire good habits through learning and practice. This program will run through March-August with monthly prizes.

Click here to learn more:

Contact at 540-434-7386 Ext. 1103 or if you have program questions.

The Garden Grove of Books- HRHA Reading Program

Through this program, we will empower the youth of Harrisonburg with better access and support to build basic literacy skills, expand their vocabulary, and strengthen their writing skills. The age group that will be served through this program is 3-18 year-olds. As they build their literacy skills throughout the program, they are also eligible to win prizes based on several different categories.

Click here to learn more:

Contact at 540-434-7386 Ext. 1105 or if you have program questions.

Family Self-Sufficiency Introduction Video

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.

I have found this program more than helpful in my crazy day to day life. The coaching that I get is always great, honest and very informative and motivating for me. FSS has helped me with budgeting and my career goals. I have finally found the best job I could have ever thought of and am now moving forward in life supporting my family better because of the consistency and supportive attitudes in this program.

FSS has helped me to believe in myself again, their encouragement has instilled confidence back in me that now has me facing my goals instead of running from them. Also I’m now going back to school thanks to this program, something I never saw possible.

The FSS program helps you be responsible without always having the government give to you. They will give to you to the point that they are helping you, so that in the future, after the 5 years, you can be on your own.


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.

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!

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.)

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.

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!