Family Self-Sufficiency

The Family Self-Sufficiency Program is a HUD sponsored program established in 1990 that encourages families who are current Housing Choice Voucher holders to obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency.

The Lakewood Housing Authority’s (LHA) FSS program consists of thirty (30) families and there is currently a waiting list of families who wish to participate. The LHA 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 seeks and maintains suitable employment.

When a participating family reports an increase in earned income, an FSS escrow account is established by the LHA and a matching escrow credit is deposited into this account. The LHA allows a portion of this escrow account to be available to the family during the term of the contract to enable the family to complete an interim goal, such as education.

If the participating family completes the contract, and no member of the family is receiving cash welfare assistance, the accumulated escrow in the FSS account is paid to the head of the family. If the LHA terminates the FSS contract, or if the family fails to complete the contract before its expiration, the family’s FSS escrow funds are forfeited.

Our FSS Coordinator works with the families to ensure that FSS program participants are linked to the supportive services they need to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Our FSS Coordinator also administers the First Time Homeownership Program and works with some of our FSS families who wish to purchase a home.

The law provides that a family may complete its FSS contract and receive its escrow while continuing to receive housing assistance under the voucher program. Of course it is our hope that by completing the FSS program, and reaching the goals the family has established, they will become economically self-sufficient and be able to afford their rent, so that their voucher may then be offered to another family from our Housing Choice Voucher program.