The Mechanicville Housing Authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency Grant Program
The Mechanicville Housing Authority Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) is a Program that has continually been in operation here since 2007 and is designed to assist individuals and families in becoming economically independent and self-sufficient within a five (5) year time frame.
The FSS program is a voluntary program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). Under the FSS program, low-income individuals and families are provided opportunities for education, job training, counseling and other forms of social service assistance, while living in assisted housing, so they can obtain skills necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. The goal of the FSS program is to increase the independence and earned income of the participant and to decrease the participant’s dependency on welfare assistance and rental subsidies.
One of the many benefits of the program is the Interest-bearing escrow account where we set aside money for you whenever you have an increase in earnings from your employment. This is significant because public housing authorities calculate tenant’s rent based upon income; as a tenant’s income increases, their rent will also increase. However, under the FSS program, a portion of the increases in the participant’s rent because of increases in earned income will be deposited to the participant’s FSS escrow account in accordance with a set formula provided by HUD. In general terms, for each $1.00 rent goes up, the FSS program deposits approximately $1.00 into the participant’s FSS escrow account. These deposited funds become the participants upon completion of the FSS program.
Generally, the full amount of the escrow account becomes available to the participant when they have fulfilled their obligations under the FSS program. The FSS program does allow a participant to request an interim disbursement of FSS escrow funds if the program directors determine (1) the individual has fulfilled established interim goals; (2) the requested use of the FSS escrow account funds will be used for a purpose consistent with the FSS program; and (3) there are no other sources of funds or money available to the participant. There are a number of reasons for which escrow funds might be disbursed early, including but not limited to, completion of college or graduate school, job training, start-up expenses involved in the creation of a small business, repairs to an automobile for transportation to work or school or the purchase of a home.
The MHA’s FSS Referral Coordinator will assist with identifying resources to assist with meeting the family’s goals and will make referrals and direct connections between the family and the appropriate community based resources including social service agencies, schools, businesses and other educational and training resources to develop a comprehensive program that provides participating FSS family members the skills and experience to enable them to obtain and maintain employment that pays a living wage reducing, eliminating their dependency on welfare assistance and rental subsidies.
If you have a goal you wish to reach and would like help getting there, this program is for you!
For additional information on the MHA’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program, please contact our FSS Referral Coordinator, Susanne Bernard, at 518-372-8846 Ext. 122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.