The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program was enacted by Congress in 1990 to promote employment and boost the assets of low-income families participating in certain federal housing programs. Currently serving more than 75,000 families nation-wide, the FSS program is administered by State and local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and is open to families participating in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program or living in Public Housing. PHAs have discretion to determine how applicants are selected for participation as well as the size of the local program.
FSS participants receive case management services to help them develop a personal training and services plan specifying their individual goals over the five-year course of the program and some of the supportive services in the community that can help them achieve those goals. Teaching people how to set and achieve personal goals, manage their personal finances, and improve their credit-worthiness are probably the most important and practical aspects of this ambitious program.
As the incomes of families in the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs increase, their rents also increase. This is because most families in these programs pay 30 percent of their adjusted income for rent and utilities. FSS participants, however, have an opportunity to obtain a refund of some or all of these increased rent payments. As the rent of an FSS participant increases due to increased income, an amount equal to the rent increase caused by that increased income is deposited into an escrow account.
Individuals that successfully complete the FSS program receive their FSS escrow funds plus any accrued interest. There are no restrictions on how these funds may be used. Many families use the funds as a down payment on a home, to pay for education or training programs, or to start a new business. FSS participants may also apply for interim withdrawals to cover work-related expenses and other expenses that are consistent with the goals in their personal training and services plans.
If you already live in one of our public housing sites (Allen Woods Homes, CM Allen Homes, Porter Homes, or one of our single-family homes) or if you are in our Housing Choice Voucher program (a.k.a. Section 8), you can apply to be in the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. You can download the application by clicking HERE or you can call us at 512-396-3364 to get more information about the program. FSS is a voluntary program and will not affect your housing but it will allow us to provide additional services to help you reach your goals!
If you are not a current resident, click HERE to find out how you can get into the FSS program. (You will be directed to another page on this site.)