"Family Self-Sufficiency" Program Imperiled By HUD's Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Request


Publication Date: March 2004

Publisher: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Barbara Sard

Research Area: Social conditions

Keywords: Federal budget; Economic projections; Housing assistance; Low-income housing

Type: Report


One HUD program that the Administration’s budget places in jeopardy is the little-known Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. Currently serving more than 75,000 individuals who participate in HUD rental assistance programs, FSS is a program that helps low-income tenants build assets and increase their earnings so that they can better meet their families’ needs and become independent of welfare assistance.

In its strategic plan for fiscal years 2003 to 2008, HUD stated: “The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is HUD’s primary tool for helping families in the Housing Choice Voucher and public housing programs build assets and increase their incomes.” Many graduates of the FSS program become homeowners. Others start businesses or obtain post-secondary education.

But the Administration’s fiscal year 2005 budget proposes to eliminate dedicated funding for the FSS coordinators who administer FSS programs for Section 8 voucher holders. The budget also proposes to convert the voucher program itself into a block grant and to cut voucher funding in fiscal year 2005 more than $1 billion below the fiscal year 2004 level.