U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson awarded $74 million to hundreds of public housing authorities across the country to continue helping public housing residents participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program and/or reside in public housing to increase their earned income and reduce their dependency on public assistance and rental subsidies. Over $1.2 million was awarded to public housing authorities across the State of Indiana. Read more about the local impact of the grants announced yesterday .
These grants renew HUD’s support of 689 public housing authorities through the Department’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. HUD’s FSS program helps local public housing authorities to hire service coordinators who work directly with residents to connect them with programs and services that already exist in the local community. The FSS program encourages innovative strategies that link housing assistance with a broad spectrum of services that will enable participating families to find jobs, increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for rental and/or welfare assistance, and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.
FSS participants sign a five-year contract that requires the head of the household to obtain employment and that no member of the household will receive certain types of public assistance at the end of the five-year term. These families have an interest-bearing escrow account established for them. The amount credited to the family’s escrow account is based on increases in the family’s earned income during the term of the FSS contract. If the family successfully completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including debt reduction to improve credit scores, educational expenses, or a down payment on a home.
The average household income of FSS participants nearly tripled during their time in the program, from $10,000 at the time of entry to more than $27,000 upon program completion.