HUD’s Notice H-2016-08 implements the policies and procedures applicable to a Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program in private multifamily projects that have a project-based Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contract. FSS is a HUD program that links residents to services and educational opportunities that can lead to improved employment and earned income. Owners may voluntarily establish and operate a FSS program, and residents may volunteer to participate.
Under FSS, households establish goals and sign a contract with the owner for up to five years. When a household meets its goals in the FSS contract, it is eligible to receive funds deposited for it in an escrow account. Under the Section 8 program, when a household’s income increases the share of their income that goes to rent normally increases, but under FSS that increase is instead put into their escrow account. Once a household completes the FSS program, the amount in their escrow account may be used for any purpose.
Although FSS has been available to public housing and voucher households for more than 20 years, participation in FSS for HUD-assisted multifamily housing was only authorized by the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2015.” While Congress appropriates funds to hire FSS program coordinators in the public housing and voucher programs ($75 million in FY16), it has not appropriated funds for FSS in HUD-assisted multifamily housing. However, private owners of HUD-assisted multifamily housing may now use residual receipts to hire FSS program coordinators.
Owners who volunteer to carry out a FSS program must coordinate services with appropriate local service providers, recruit residents to participate, provide service coordination, case management, or coaching, and create and manage FSS escrow accounts.
The head of a household who volunteers to participate in FSS must seek and maintain employment during the term of the contract. In addition, all household members must become independent of any federal, state, or local welfare assistance at least one year before the contract expires. Contracts may be extended for up to two years if the head of household suffers a serious illness or involuntarily loses a job.
Notice H-2016-08 is at: http://bit.ly/1Ig8b2p