HUD Expands the Family Self-Sufficiency Program to Privately Owned Multifamily Properties
Friday, September 2, 2016
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that privately owned apartment buildings under Section 8 contract can now offer Family Self-Sufficiency programs to the more than one million households living in their properties. HUD will now allow owners of multifamily properties to use funding from residual receipt accounts to hire service coordinators for their own Family Self-Sufficiency program.
Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) is a HUD program that provides incentives and supports to help families living in multifamily assisted housing to increase their earned income and reduce their dependence on public assistance programs. FSS promotes the development of local strategies to coordinate the use of HUD rental assistance programs with public and private resources to enable eligible families to make progress toward economic independence and self-sufficiency.
Residents who choose to voluntarily participate in the FSS program will be paired with service coordinators who will guide them in developing self-sufficiency goals. They will also sign a five-year contract requiring the head of the household to obtain employment and for all family members to be free of public assistance for one year before the contract ends.
The owner establishes an interest-bearing escrow account for all families, with separate accounting for each participating family. The escrow account is funded by HUD through adjustments to rental subsidy payments to the owner. If family members’ earned incomes and rental payments increase while participating in the FSS program, the owner will credit the incremental rent due to the increase in earned income amount to the family’s escrow account. Once a family successfully completes the program, they may access the escrow funds and use them for any purpose.
The expanded FSS program has the potential to impact thousands of families nationwide.
The HUD notice to multifamily property owners explaining the program can be found here.