2022 Funding Helps HUD-Assisted Families Build Assets, Increase Stability
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced over $109 million to 682 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs)for the 2022 Renewal Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program and an additional $6 million to 32 PHAs and 38 Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) owners for the 2022 New FSS Program for a total of nearly $116 million. These funds will be used to assist families in increasing their assets and improving their financial stability through the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program. Expanding Asset Building Programs like the Family Self Sufficiency Program was outlined as a key element of the Agency’s agenda on Bridging the Wealth Gap.
The FSS program is a completely voluntary program offered to families in HUD-assisted housing who are provided coaching, referred to services and establish a family escrow savings account. FSS Program Coordinators providing the coaching and develop local strategies to connect participating families to public and private resources to increase their earned income and financial empowerment, reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance, and make progress toward economic independence and self-sufficiency.
“Childcare, education, job training, and financial literacy are just some of the services to which families are connected under the FSS program,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “HUD is dedicated to providing the safety net and resources necessary to prepare for the ups and downs of life. This stabilizing program does just that and more by providing supports, connections to services and the opportunity to build a real asset.”
Greatly expanded upon in 2022, the FSS program is the nation’s largest asset-building program for low-income families, funding over 1,300 coordinators who serve over 60,000 residents in public, voucher, and multifamily housing. New regulations published in May removed potential barriers to the program by allowing any adult household member to apply (not just the Head of Household) and eliminating a cap on savings for higher earners. While authorized to run self-funded FSS programs since 2015, FY22 was the first year ever that PBRA owners were eligible to apply for funding. The response to the opportunity was outstanding, with demand exceeding resources by over 150 eligible applicants. In a show of continuing bipartisan support for this 30-year-old program, FSS was appropriated $125 million in FY23 Budget.
Unequal access to savings, negative or invisible credit history, and engagement in mainstream banking are national problems that especially impact renters and contribute to the racial wealth gap. This leaves renters with a minimal safety net to draw from in times of unemployment or unanticipated expenses such as car repair or medical emergencies. The FSS program helps to keep the unexpected from becoming larger financial problems through savings and support.
Additionally, today, the FSS program published an updated version of the FSS Program Guidebook that encompasses information on the new FSS rule and support for Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) owners. This guidebook serves as a resource to all practitioners who are implementing the FSS program locally by providing practical hands-on guidance on how to run an effective FSS program. This guidebook will be a key resource for the 70 new FSS programs that were announced today. View the new FSS Program Guidebook.