Family Self-Sufficiency Program

FSS Coordinating Committee

  • Rob Batterbee, Fifth Third Bank
  • Jeffrey Brazier, Huntington Bank
  • Amanda Briggs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Dee Brown, Express Employment Professionals
  • Nancy Campbell, West Michigan Works
  • Alisa Flores, Home Repair Services
  • Shanna Hogan, Kent ISD
  • Kelsey McFarland, ICCF Community Homes
  • Jinnifer Ortquist, MSU Extension
  • Venessa Remo, Opportunity Resource Fund
  • GRHC Staff Representatives:
  • Wanda Couch, HCV Program Manager
  • Kimberly Brown, HCV Coordinator
  • Margo Gatling, HCV Coordinator
  • Rufus Granderson, HCV Coordinator
  • Erica Kurban, HCV Coordinator
  • Lauri Parks, HCV Coordinator
  • Wyoming Housing Commission Representatives:
  • Rebeca Venema, Executive Director
  • Kimberly Seymour, FSS/Section 8 Coordinator
  • Kent County Community Action Representatives:
  • Emily Stroka, FSS/Section 8 Coordinator
  • Queyonna Hunt, FSS/Section 8 Coordinator
  • Jennifer Kozlowski, FSS/Section 8 Coordinator

Back to top

Building a Stronger
Financial Future

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.

More than 400 West Michigan families currently participate in the Grand Rapids Housing Commission’s FSS Program. During 2021, the GRHC disbursed a total of $178,095 to 17 program graduates.

Complete a Self-Referral Form to let us know you are interested in participating in the FSS Program

Back to top

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.

Back to top