Family Self Sufficiency Program: The Path to HomeOwnership

NeighborWorks® Housing Solutions’ (NHS) Family Self Sufficiency Program (FSS) assists families through a five-year plan to achieve financial independence by encouraging education and job training. The program goal is for participants to achieve family-sustaining employment and salary levels that may enable families to move from subsidized to market-rate housing.

Experience tells us that post-secondary education and vocational training are essential for heads of households to attain family-sustaining income. FSS staff has developed cooperative relationships with a number of community service, job training and educational institutions in order to provide a range of effective services and training for FSS participants.

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How It Works

Of our nearly 3,000 households supported through NHS-administered rental subsidies, around 100 families are part of our FSS program.

Participants work with the FSS Program Coordinator and Case Manager to complete a comprehensive assessment of their educational and vocational abilities, needs, and interests. Then, a five-year custom-tailored service plan is developed to obtain more skills, education, better employment, and improved credit.

Staff regularly meets with each client to evaluate progress and to ensure that each participant receives needed support as well as referrals to the services, institutions, and programs they need to achieve their goals.

Who Is Eligible?

Families who are currently participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) and project-based units through NeighborWorks® Housing Solutions. Head of Household must be 18 years or older.

To learn more about this program, or if you are eligible, the FSS Coordinator, at 781-422-4282.

Dare to Dream: The Benefits of the FSS Program

Normally, when a family's income goes up, it will also increase their rent share. However, as an FSS program participant, an increase in rent due to an increase in income starts an automatic escrow savings account in their name.

FSS participants can access their escrow account money when they encounter obstacles or opportunities related to their self-sufficiency goals. These funds can:

  • Keep a car on the road
  • Pay for training
  • Fund short term childcare
  • Address other issues related to increasing family income or transitional expenses encountered upon graduation from the program.

It’s possible for participants to accumulate thousands of dollars in their escrow account by the end of the program — some graduates have used their escrow money as a down payment on a new home!

Additionally, NHS has raised a pool of flexible funds that FSS participants can access when they encounter obstacles or opportunities related to their self-sufficiency goals, especially early on before they have established substantial escrow accounts.