Family Self-Sufficiency Program
Tacoma Housing Authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is an employment and asset building program. It is designed to match families with a broad range of existing community services to assist FSS families in achieving economic self-sufficiency. Economic self-sufficiency is defined as making measurable progress toward economic security. The goal is for families achieve the goals and plan for a future they set for themselves.
The goals for FSS participants are:
- Increase participants’ ability to earn a livable wage
- Increase self-reliance
- Reduce dependence on financial subsidies
The FSS program helps residents reach their goals by working with them to:
- Identify their skills, assets and aspirations
- Overcome barriers to progress
Eligibility and Selection Process
Families living in THA housing communities or those on THA’s Housing Choice Voucher and Housing Opportunities (HOP) program are eligible to join the FSS program.
Those who want to participate in FSS attend an orientation. Following the orientation, prospective participants meet individually with a FSS staff to complete an application. THA will screen applicants based on interest and motivation to participate in the program.
Contract of Participation
THA and the head of each participating family sign an FSS Contract of Participation that governs the rights and responsibilities of both parties. The 5-year FSS contract specifies each family’s goals and the services to be provided for each family.
Family members must fulfill all requirements and goals of their contract’s Individual Training and Services Plan in order to successfully complete the program. In addition, the Contract of Participation requires that the family:
- Comply with the lease;
- Become independent of cash assistance; and
- Seek and maintain stable employment.
FSS Escrow Account
THA establishes a savings account, or escrow account, for FSS participants. Participants receive the money in their escrow account when they complete all the goals in their contract’s Individual Training and Services Plan and they successfully fulfill all the requirements of FSS Contract of Participation.
If the family completes the Contract of Participation and no member of the family is receiving welfare, the amount of the FSS escrow account is paid to the head of the family. If THA terminates the FSS contract, or if the family fails to complete the Contract of Participation before its end date, the family does not receive the FSS escrow account.
How the escrow is calculated:
In January 2013, THA began using a pay point system to calculate escrow account deposits. Participants increase their escrow by achieving the goals in their Individual Training and Service plan. For example, participants can earn a $2000 pay point if they maintain 32 hours per week employment for a minimum of six consecutive months.
When I first entered in the Tacoma Housing, I was a bit intimidated and always worried about the unknown. Today, I am very happy and grateful to say that the FSS Program, Tacoma Housing Authority and Sound Outreach have made a huge difference in my life. I am humbled and forever grateful.Client testimonial