Housing and Urban Development Renews Funding for Family Self-Sufficiency Program
Pulaski County, AR – Pulaski County Government announced today that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded approximately $43,000 to renew support to the Pulaski County Housing Agency’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program.
U.S. Senator John Boozman, who serves on the U.S. Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Relate Agencies Subcommittee, gave his support and congratulations.
“This investment allows the Pulaski County Housing Agency to assist more families in creating a better future,” Senator Boozman said. “I’m proud to support this grant that enables Arkansans to gain vital job-training skills that will put them on the path to financial independence,” he said.
Established in 1990, the FSS program is funded by HUD to promote employment and increase assets for low-income families receiving federal rent subsidies or public housing. FSS is a five-year program that helps participants become self-sufficient by accomplishing goals such as completing a degree or certification, purchasing a home and securing stable employment.
Participants must be an active client of the Section 8 housing program for one year. If interested, the participant is placed on a waiting list until one of the 26 spots becomes available. When a spot is available, he or she attends a FSS briefing meeting where the participant sets goals and signs a contract.
An important part of the FSS program is the Escrow Savings Account. Each participating family has the opportunity to develop FSS escrowed savings through an account established and controlled by the Public Housing Agency (PHA). As a participant’s earned income increases, so does the percentage they must pay for rent. For FSS participants; however, an amount generally equal to their increased rent because of increased earnings is placed in the FSS escrow account.
“Our participants, overall, have been extremely successful in reaching their goals and completing the program,” Community Services Director Fredrick Love said. “This program allows individuals to improve their quality of life for themselves and their families and truly become—self-sufficient.”
In 2018, FSS had one participant whose goal was to find a more suitable career path and repair her credit. She graduated from the FSS program, became a homeowner and is no longer a Section 8 recipient. Of the remaining participants, 19 have a goal of homeownership, 13 have goals to pursue higher education, and seven are pursuing higher education goals. Three of the participants have goals of entrepreneurship. All FSS clients are working to establish or repair their credit to prepare for homeownership.
“I thank Senator Boozman for his continued support of this program for citizens of Pulaski County,” Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde said. “This program is proving to be a huge success for those who want to have more independence and cycle off government assistance,” he said. “Establishing goals with the help of our housing team and making a commitment to those goals, ensures accountability and completion of the program. I wish each participant continued success.”