Family Self-Sufficiency Program
What is the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program?
FSS is a voluntary program open to all Section 8 participants
which assists families in obtaining the skills that they need
to achieve financial independence. Clients are assisted in-house
by the FSS Program Coordinator and are also referred to other
community agencies where clients access services such as case
management, education, job training, counseling, job search
assistance, financial aid assistance, workshops, support meetings,
and other appropriate services to assist the family.
How does the program work?
- All FSS participants must currently be a participant in
the TMHA Section 8 rental assistance program in order to
be eligible to participate.
- The TMHA FSS Coordinator assists the families with accessing
the local agency services which the family needs in order
to develop the skills to become self-sufficient. The coordinator
will discuss the familys immediate and long term goals
as well as the expectations of the program. Then, the coordinator
and family will develop a strategy for achieving self-sufficiency
and formulate an Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP)
which lists the families goals and objectives.
- The ITSP is then incorporated into a formal FSS Contract
of Participation which is signed by both the family and
the Housing Authority.
What are the benefits of the program?
- The FSS Program Coordinator works closely with several
area service agencies and local educational and training
facilities and can greatly assist clients in identifying
and accessing the programs and services they need to achieve
higher paying jobs and ultimately become self-sufficient.
- A major component of the FSS Program is that clients have
the ability to establish an Escrow
(Savings) Account when the family increases their earned
income while they are participating in the FSS Program.
- The FSS Coordinator will help clients in resume preparation
and finding job leads while they seek employment. For those
individuals seeking further training or college enrollment,
assistance with obtaining financial aid will be provided.
What is the FSS Contract of Participation?
The contract describes the resources and appropriate supportive
services which will be made available to the family under
the FSS Contract. The contract describes the objectives which
need to be completed by the family. It includes the rights
and responsibilities of the FSS family and TMHA.
By signing the FSS Contract of Participation, the family agrees
to fulfill the obligations to which it has committed itself,
no later than five (5) years after entering into the contract.
It requires the head of the household to seek and maintain
suitable employment throughout the term of the contract. In
cases where individuals enroll in vocational training or college,
they will be required to obtain employment upon graduation
in order to complete the FSS Contract.
Can I receive an extension of my FSS Contract?
Yes, the Housing Authority may grant an extension of up to
two (2) years beyond the original five year term for good
cause such as serious illness, involuntary loss of employment
or some other special circumstance. The family must request
the extension in writing and include the reason for the extension.
The Housing Authority must determine if good cause exists
to grant the extension.
How does the Escrow account work?
When a participating family becomes employed when they previously
were not; or when the family starts out in the program having
employment income and then increases that income while participating
in FSS, an escrow account is then established for the family.
A part of the increase in the familys portion of rent
due to an increase in earned income will be credited to the
FSS escrow in accordance with HUD regulations. The family
will be given an initial letter telling them when the escrow
credit will start and what the amount of the credit will be.
Also, the family will be given an annual escrow report each
December which details the activity in the escrow account
for the year.
The escrow account funds are kept and maintained by the housing
authority. FSS clients can only obtain Escrow funds upon the
successful completion of the FSS Contract of Participation.
In what circumstances will my FSS Contract terminate?
The FSS Contract of Participation will terminate for the following
reasons:· Completion of the goals and objectives listed
in the contract
- Achievement of self-sufficiency by having family income
exceed the designated payment standard for the bedroom size
unit for which they qualify
- Expiration of the contract and any requested extensions
- Failure of the FSS client to honor the terms of the contract
- By any other act that is inconsistent with the purpose
of the FSS Program such as being terminated from the Section
8 rental assistance program
Can I continue to receive rental assistance after termination
from the FSS Program?
Yes, if the family is unable to become self-sufficient by
the end of the term of the contract, and any subsequent contract
extensions, the family will retain its current Section 8 subsidy
but will no longer be considered an FSS participant. The family
will forfeit the rights to any accumulated escrow funds upon
termination from the FSS Program. However, forfeiture of escrow
funds will not affect the amount of rental subsidy available
to the family.
OHAC Scholarship Opportunity
Each year the Ohio Housing Authorities Conference (OHAC)
offers a $500 scholarship to individuals who are involved
with a housing authority Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
TMHA FSS participants who are enrolled in college would be
eligible to apply for this scholarship. Additionally, a scholarship
is also available to the children of FSS program participants
who are high school seniors and planning to enroll in college.
In order to apply for the scholarship, OHAC has established
some minimum eligibility standards including:
- Minimum accumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0
- Two letters of recommendation
- Complete an application form
- Submit an essay on the following topic: What has
been the primary factor in your life that has encouraged
or motivated you to strive for personal and academic excellence?
Each year when OHAC sends TMHA the scholarship application
materials, the FSS Coordinator will forward the application
packet to all of the FSS participants who are currently enrolled
TMHA has been fortunate enough in the past to have 4 FSS participants
win this scholarship!