West Valley Housing Authority

Information about the Family Self-Sufficiency Program

WVHA Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program

The WVHA Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency Program is a voluntary five-year program for families with Section 8 vouchers. The program helps families become financially independent. The main goal of the program is to help families get good jobs and earn enough money so they will not need future public cash or housing assistance. Families get education, job training, and other services.

The Family Self-Sufficiency Program is a HUD program that is run by public housing agencies (PHAs) throughout Oregon. PHA case managers help FSS families define their goals and set up a plan to achieve them. Goals may include obtaining a good job, setting up for homeownership, college, and/or starting a business.

WVHA works with local agencies to help Section 8 FSS families get the services they need to reach their goals. In addition, for many FSS families, if the family's income and rent share go up during the program, WVHA puts money in a special FSS escrow account. The family gets the money when they finish the program.

How does the Section 8 FSS Program work?

  • WVHA runs the Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency Program throughout Polk County. Families must have a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher to enroll in the program. The program is voluntary. Families can choose to join the program or not.

  • FSS families meet with our FSS Coordinator to define their goals and set up a five-year plan. The head of the family and WVHA sign a contract that states the family's goals and the steps they will take to reach them. WVHA helps the family get the services they need.

  • For many FSS families, WVHA sets up a special FSS escrow account for the family. If the family’s income and rent share increase during the program, WVHA puts money into the family's account. The money stays in the account and earns interest until the family finishes the program. If the family successfully completes the program, they get to keep the money. They can use the money to make a down payment on a house, buy a car, pay for college, or for any other purpose.

  • WVHA may allow families to use money from their account for a “goal-specific” purpose.

  • To complete the program and get the money, the family must meet all the terms of their contract. The head of the family must have a job, and all members of the family must be off of cash assistance for the last 12 months of the program.

  • Families can end their FSS contracts at any time. If they do not want to continue with the program, families do not lose their Section 8 Vouchers. However, any money in their escrow account goes back to WVHA.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for the WVHA Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program:

  • You must have a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher;

  • You must be motivated to become self-sufficient;

  • You must sign a five-year contract of participation

What benefits will I get?

The WVHA Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency Program has two types of benefits:

Case management:

Our FSS Coordinator will help you define your job goals and the steps you will take to achieve them. She will help you get the services you need to reach your goals. Services may include:

  • GED classes and other education programs

  • Job training

  • Career counseling and job search

  • Child care and transportation

  • Financial planning

FSS escrow account:

For many FSS families, WVHA will set up a special FSS escrow account. If your family's income and rent share go up during the program, WVHA puts money into your account. The money stays in the account and earns interest until the end of the program.

If you successfully complete the program, your family can use the money for any purpose you choose. During the program, WVHA may allow you to use money out of your account if you need money to help you reach your goals.

You can cancel your FSS contract at any time if you do not want to continue. You do not lose your Section 8 voucher. However, you do not get to keep the money in your FSS account.

How do I apply?

Only families with Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers can apply for FSS. To answer specific questions or to apply for the FSS Program, please contact our FSS Coordinator at (503) 623-8387 Extension 322. An information brochure can be found at the following link. An application for the FSS Program can be found here.

 

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