Family Self-Sufficiency Program
Families that participate in Grand Rapids Housing Commission affordable-housing programs generally pay 30 percent of their income toward rent; so an increase in earned income typically results in a rent increase.
When a client enrolls in the GRHC's Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program, we establish an escrow account for the family in which we deposit roughly the amount of the rent increase each month. Escrow can accrue for up to five years, and clients who successfully complete the FSS Program receive these funds. Many families use their FSS funds toward the purchase of a home.How the FSS Program Works
- The program is available to residents of GRHC housing developments and participants in our Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
- Eligible families sign an FSS contract that outlines the responsibilities of both the family and the GRHC.
- Each family that enrolls in the program is assigned a "case manager," an experienced GRHC staff member who helps the family set goals and also links family members with such community resources as child care, transportation, job training and employment counseling services. The family is required to meet with the case manager three times each year, but may request additional support as needed.
- To successfully complete the program, a family must:
- Be free of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance for at least the last 12 months of its FSS contract. A family can continue to receive food stamps, medical assistance, child care assistance, work supports (transportation assistance, short-term benefits under TANF), or SSI, SSDI or Social Security yet still obtain the funds in the escrow account.
- Have income from gainful employment for the last 12 months of the FSS contract.
More than 400 West Michigan families currently participate in the Grand Rapids Housing Commission's FSS Program. During 2012, the GRHC disbursed a total of $279,075 to 45 program graduates.