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Early Findings From the Family Self Sufficiency Program Released

Crystal Wojciechowski, Policy Analyst

In March of 2019, MDRC submitted a report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) entitled “Promoting Work and Self-Sufficiency for Housing Voucher Recipients: Early Findings from the Family Self-Sufficiency Program Evaluation.” The report presents initial results from the first 24 months of a five-year analysis of the national Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. As this early analysis takes places less than halfway through the program there where no expectations of significant participant impacts and outcomes at this early stage of investigation. This is noted on numerous occasions in the report, and so no early program implications or conclusions should be drawn based on the results.

The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program has been in operation since the early 1990s. It is a voluntary program for households receiving federal rental assistance designed to increase employment, improve the economic well-being of households receiving that assistance, and move recipients toward self-sufficiency. Through annual grants, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides housing authorities (HAs) with federal funds to hire FSS program coordinators. FSS program coordinators work with participating heads of households to develop self-sufficiency plans (usually covering 5 years) and connect them with appropriate services in their communities to accomplish their goals. Additionally, the program provides a financial incentive to assist families in accruing savings through an interest bearing FSS escrow account that is dispersed to participants when they graduate from the FSS program.

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