Family Self-Sufficiency Program

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 interest-bearing 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.

Some 230 West Michigan families currently participate in the Grand Rapids Housing Commission’s FSS Program. During 2022, the GRHC disbursed a total of $240,973 to 34 program graduates.

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

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Who Is Eligible to Participate?

This voluntary program is open to households that participate in the GRHC’s housing programs:

  • Residents of our agency-owned housing developments
  • Participants in the GRHC’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program
  • Households who use Section 8 Project-Based rental subsidies we administer for several partner organizations

The head of household or any designated member of the household aged 18 or older can enroll in the FSS Program on behalf of the family:

  • Only one FSS Contract of Participation is allowed per household.
  • Escrowed funds are distributed to the adult family member who signed the Contract of Participation.

Households can participate in both the FSS Program and the GRHC HCV Homeownership Program.

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How the FSS Program Works

  • Interested GRHC residents attend an Orientation Meeting.
  • Eligible families sign an FSS Contract of Participation that outlines the responsibilities of both the family and the GRHC.
  • Each family that enrolls in the program works with an FSS Coordinator who helps the household set goals and also links family members with such community resources as child care, transportation, job training and employment counseling services.
  • It is possible to use some of the escrowed savings for activities that help the household achieve self-sufficiency goals.
  • To successfully complete the program and receive all escrowed funds...
    • The head of household must be employed and the family must fulfill all of its obligations under the Contract of Participation.
    • All household members must be independent from welfare assistance at the time of program graduation.
    • The household must be in good standing with the GRHC and the landlord.

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