United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 23, 2024

§ 1437u.
Family Self-Sufficiency program
(a)
Purpose

The purpose of the Family Self-Sufficiency program established under this section is to promote the development of local strategies to coordinate use of assistance under sections 1437f and 1437g of this title with public and private resources, to enable eligible families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency.

(b)
Continuation of prior required programs
(1)
In general

Each public housing agency that was required to administer a local Family Self-Sufficiency program on May 24, 2018, shall operate such local program for, at a minimum, the number of families the agency was required to serve on May 24, 2018, subject only to the availability under appropriations Acts of sufficient amounts for housing assistance and the requirements of paragraph (2).

(2)
Reduction

The number of families for which a public housing agency is required to operate such local program under paragraph (1) shall be decreased by 1 for each family from any supported rental housing program administered by such agency that, after October 21, 1998, fulfills its obligations under the contract of participation.

(3)
Exception
The Secretary shall not require a public housing agency to carry out a mandatory program for a period of time upon the request of the public housing agency and upon a determination by the Secretary that implementation is not feasible because of local circumstances, which may include—
(A)
lack of supportive services accessible to eligible families, which shall include insufficient availability of resources for programs under title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.);
(B)
lack of funding for reasonable administrative costs;
(C)
lack of cooperation by other units of State or local government; or
(D)
any other circumstances that the Secretary may consider appropriate.
(c)
Eligibility
(1)
Eligible families
A family is eligible to participate in a local Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section if—
(A)
at least 1 household member seeks to become and remain employed in suitable employment or to increase earnings; and
(B)
the household member receives direct assistance under section 1437f of this title or resides in a unit assisted under section 1437f or 1437g of this title.
(2)
Eligible entities
The following entities are eligible to administer a local Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section:
(A)
A public housing agency administering housing assistance to or on behalf of an eligible family under section 1437f or 1437g of this title.
(B)
The owner or sponsor of a multifamily property receiving project-based rental assistance under section 1437f of this title, in accordance with the requirements under subsection (l).
(d)
Contract of participation
(1)
In general

Each eligible entity carrying out a local program under this section shall enter into a contract with a household member of an eligible family, that elects to participate in the self-sufficiency program under this section. The contract shall set forth the provisions of the local program, shall establish specific interim and final goals by which compliance with and performance of the contract may be measured, and shall specify the resources and supportive services to be made available to the participating family pursuant to paragraph (2) and the responsibilities of the participating family. Housing assistance may not be terminated as a consequence of either successful completion of the contract of participation or failure to complete such contract. A contract of participation shall remain in effect until the participating family exits the Family Self-Sufficiency program upon successful graduation or expiration of the contract of participation, or for other good cause.

(2)
Supportive services
An eligible entity shall coordinate appropriate supportive services under this paragraph for each participating family entering into a contract of participation under paragraph (1). The supportive services shall be coordinated for the period the family is receiving assistance pursuant to section 1437f or 1437g of this title and for the duration of the contract of participation, and may include, but are not limited to—
(A)
child care;
(B)
transportation necessary to receive services;
(C)
remedial education;
(D)
education for completion of high school or attainment of a high school equivalency certificate;
(E)
education in pursuit of a post-secondary degree or certification;
(F)
job training and preparation;
(G)
substance abuse treatment and counseling;
(H)
training in financial literacy, such as training in financial management, financial coaching, and asset building, and money management;
(I)
training in household management;
(J)
homeownership education and assistance; and
(K)
any other services and resources appropriate to assist eligible families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency.
(3)
Term and extension

Each family participating in a local program shall be required to fulfill its obligations under the contract of participation not later than 5 years after the first recertification of income after entering into the contract. The eligible entity shall extend the term of the contract for any family that requests an extension, upon a finding of good cause.

(4)
Employment

The contract of participation shall require 1 household member of the participating family to seek and maintain suitable employment.

(5)
Nonparticipation

Assistance under section 1437f or 1437g of this title for a family that elects not to participate in a Family Self-Sufficiency program shall not be delayed by reason of such election.

(e)
Incentives for participation
(1)
Maximum rents

During the term of the contract of participation, the amount of rent paid by any participating family shall be calculated under the rental provisions of section 1437a of this title or section 1437f(o) of this title, as applicable.

(2)
Escrow savings accounts

For each participating family, an amount equal to any increase in the amount of rent paid by the family in accordance with the provisions of section 1437a or 1437f(o) of this title, as applicable, that is attributable to increases in earned income by the participating family, shall be placed in an interest-bearing escrow account established by the eligible entity on behalf of the participating family. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an eligible entity may use funds it controls under section 1437f or 1437g of this title for purposes of making the escrow deposit for participating families assisted under, or residing in units assisted under, section 1437f or 1437g of this title, respectively, provided such funds are offset by the increase in the amount of rent paid by the participating family. All Family Self-Sufficiency programs administered under this section shall include an escrow account. The Secretary shall not escrow any amounts for any family whose adjusted income exceeds 80 percent of the area median income. Amounts in the escrow account may be withdrawn by the participating family after the family ceases to receive income assistance under Federal or State welfare programs, upon successful performance of the obligations of the family under the contract of participation entered into by the family under subsection (d), as determined according to the specific goals and terms included in the contract, and under other circumstances in which the Secretary determines an exception for good cause is warranted. An eligible entity establishing such escrow accounts may make certain amounts in the accounts available to the participating families before full performance of the contract obligations based on compliance with, and completion of, specific interim goals included in the contract; except that any such amounts shall be used by the participating families for purposes consistent with the contracts of participation, as determined by such eligible entity.

(3)
Forfeited escrow

Any amount placed in an escrow account established by an eligible entity for a participating family as required under paragraph (2), that exists after the end of a contract of participation by a household member of a participating family that does not qualify to receive the escrow, shall be used by the eligible entity for the benefit of participating families in good standing.

(f)
Effect of increases in family income

Any increase in the earned income of a family during the participation of the family in a local program established under this section may not be considered as income or a resource for purposes of eligibility of the family for other benefits, or amount of benefits payable to the family, under any program administered by the Secretary.

(g)
Program coordinating committee
(1)
Functions

Each eligible entity carrying out a local program under this section shall, in consultation with the chief executive officer of the unit of general local government, develop an action plan under subsection (h), carry out activities under the local program, and secure commitments of public and private resources through a program coordinating committee established by such eligible entity under this subsection.

(2)
Membership

The program coordinating committee may consist of representatives of the eligible entity, the unit of general local government, the local agencies (if any) responsible for carrying out programs under title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act [29 U.S.C. 3111 et seq.], and other organizations, such as other State and local welfare and employment agencies, public and private primary, secondary, and post-secondary education or training institutions, nonprofit service providers, and private businesses. The eligible entity may, in consultation with the chief executive officer of the unit of general local government and tenants served by the program, utilize an existing entity as the program coordinating committee if it meets the requirements of this subsection.

(h)
Action plan
(1)
Required submission

The Secretary shall require each eligible entity carrying out a self-sufficiency program under this section to submit, for approval by the Secretary, an action plan under this subsection in such form and in accordance with such procedures as the Secretary shall require.

(2)
Development of plan

In developing the plan, the eligible entity shall consult with the chief executive officer of the applicable unit of general local government, the program coordinating committee established under subsection (g), representatives of the current and prospective participants of the program, any local agencies responsible for programs under title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act [29 U.S.C. 3111 et seq.], other appropriate organizations (such as other State and local welfare and employment or training institutions, child care providers, nonprofit service providers, and private businesses), and any other public and private service providers affected by the operation of the local program.

(3)
Contents of plan
The Secretary shall require that the action plan contain at a minimum—
(A)
a description of the size, characteristics, and needs of the population of the families expected to participate in the local self-sufficiency program;
(B)
a description of the number of eligible participating families who can reasonably be expected to receive supportive services under the program, based on available and anticipated Federal, State, local, and private resources;
(C)
a description of the services and activities under subsection (d)(2) to be coordinated on behalf of participating families receiving direct assistance under this section through sections 1437f and 1437g of this title, which shall be provided by both public and private resources;
(D)
a description of the incentives pursuant to subsection (e) offered by the eligible entity to families to encourage participation in the program;
(E)
a description of how the local program will coordinate services and activities according to the needs of the families participating in the program;
(F)
a description of both the public and private resources that are expected to be made available to provide the activities and services under the local program;
(G)
a timetable for implementation of the local program;
(H)
assurances satisfactory to the Secretary that development of the services and activities under the local program has been coordinated with programs under title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act [29 U.S.C. 3111 et seq.] and any other relevant employment, child care, transportation, training, and education programs in the applicable area, and that implementation will continue to be coordinated, in order to avoid duplication of services and activities; and
(I)
assurances satisfactory to the Secretary that nonparticipating families will retain their rights to assistance under section 1437f or 1437g of this title notwithstanding the provisions of this section.
(i)
Family Self-Sufficiency awards
(1)
In general

Subject to appropriations, the Secretary shall establish a formula by which annual funds shall be awarded or as otherwise determined by the Secretary for the costs incurred by an eligible entity in administering the Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section.

(2)
Eligibility for awards
The award established under paragraph (1) shall provide funding for family self-sufficiency coordinators as follows:
(A)
Base award

An eligible entity serving 25 or more participants in the Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section is eligible to receive an award equal to the costs, as determined by the Secretary, of 1 full-time family self-sufficiency coordinator position. The Secretary may, by regulation or notice, determine the policy concerning the award for an eligible entity serving fewer than 25 such participants, including providing prorated awards or allowing such entities to combine their programs under this section for purposes of employing a coordinator.

(B)
Additional award

An eligible entity that meets performance standards set by the Secretary is eligible to receive an additional award sufficient to cover the costs of filling an additional family self-sufficiency coordinator position if such entity has 75 or more participating families, and an additional coordinator for each additional 50 participating families, or such other ratio as may be established by the Secretary based on the award allocation evaluation under subparagraph (E).

(C)
State and regional agencies

For purposes of calculating the award under this paragraph, each administratively distinct part of a State or regional eligible entity may be treated as a separate agency.

(D)
Determination of number of coordinators

In determining whether an eligible entity meets a specific threshold for funding pursuant to this paragraph, the Secretary shall consider the number of participants enrolled by the eligible entity in its Family Self-Sufficiency program as well as other criteria determined by the Secretary.

(E)
Award allocation evaluation

The Secretary shall submit to Congress a report evaluating the award allocation under this subsection, and make recommendations based on this evaluation and other related findings to modify such allocation, within 4 years after May 24, 2018, and not less frequently than every 4 years thereafter. The report requirement under this subparagraph shall terminate after the Secretary has submitted 2 such reports to Congress.

(3)
Renewals and allocation
(A)
In general
Funds allocated by the Secretary under this subsection shall be allocated in the following order of priority:
(i)
First priority

Renewal of the full cost of all coordinators in the previous year at each eligible entity with an existing Family Self-Sufficiency program that meets applicable performance standards set by the Secretary.

(ii)
Second priority

New or incremental coordinator funding authorized under this section.

(B)
Guidance
If the first priority, as described in subparagraph (A)(i), cannot be fully satisfied, the Secretary may prorate the funding for each eligible entity, as long as—
(i)
each eligible entity that has received funding for at least 1 part-time coordinator in the prior fiscal year is provided sufficient funding for at least 1 part-time coordinator as part of any such proration; and
(ii)
(4)
Recapture or offset

Any awards allocated under this subsection by the Secretary in a fiscal year that have not been spent by the end of the subsequent fiscal year or such other time period as determined by the Secretary may be recaptured by the Secretary and shall be available for providing additional awards pursuant to paragraph (2)(B), or may be offset as determined by the Secretary. Funds appropriated pursuant to this section shall remain available for 3 years in order to facilitate the re-use of any recaptured funds for this purpose.

(5)
Performance reporting

Programs under this section shall be required to report the number of families enrolled and graduated, the number of established escrow accounts and positive escrow balances, and any other information that the Secretary may require. Program performance shall be reviewed periodically as determined by the Secretary.

(6)
Incentives for innovation and high performance

The Secretary may reserve up to 5 percent of the amounts made available under this subsection to provide support to or reward Family Self-Sufficiency programs based on the rate of successful completion, increased earned income, or other factors as may be established by the Secretary.

(j)
On-site facilities

Each eligible entity carrying out a local program may, subject to the approval of the Secretary, make available and utilize common areas or unoccupied units for the provision or coordination of supportive services under the local program.

(k)
Flexibility

In establishing and carrying out the self-sufficiency program under this section, the Secretary shall allow eligible entities, units of general local government, and other organizations discretion and flexibility, to the extent practicable, in developing and carrying out local programs.

(l)
Programs for tenants in privately owned properties with project-based assistance
(1)
Voluntary availability of FSS program

The owner of a privately owned property may voluntarily make a Family Self-Sufficiency program available to the tenants of such property in accordance with procedures established by the Secretary. Such procedures shall permit the owner to enter into a cooperative agreement with a local public housing agency that administers a Family Self-Sufficiency program or, at the owner’s option, operate a Family Self-Sufficiency program on its own or in partnership with another owner. An owner, who voluntarily makes a Family Self-Sufficiency program available pursuant to this subsection, may access funding from any residual receipt accounts for the property to hire a family self-sufficiency coordinator or coordinators for their program.

(2)
Cooperative agreement

Any cooperative agreement entered into pursuant to paragraph (1) shall require the public housing agency to open its Family Self-Sufficiency program waiting list to any eligible family residing in the owner’s property who resides in a unit assisted under project-based rental assistance.

(3)
Treatment of families assisted under this subsection

A public housing agency that enters into a cooperative agreement pursuant to paragraph (1) may count any family participating in its Family Self-Sufficiency program as a result of such agreement as part of the calculation of the award under subsection (i).

(4)
Escrow
(A)
Cooperative agreement

A cooperative agreement entered into pursuant to paragraph (1) shall provide for the calculation and tracking of the escrow for participating residents and for the owner to make available, upon request of the public housing agency, escrow for participating residents, in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (e), residing in units assisted under section 1437f of this title.

(B)
Calculation and tracking by owner

The owner of a privately owned property who voluntarily makes a Family Self-Sufficiency program available pursuant to paragraph (1) shall calculate and track the escrow for participating residents and make escrow for participating residents available in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (e).

(5)
Exception

This subsection shall not apply to properties assisted under section 1437f(o)(13) of this title.

(6)
Suspension of enrollment

In any year, the Secretary may suspend the enrollment of new families in Family Self-Sufficiency programs under this subsection based on a determination that insufficient funding is available for this purpose.

(m)
Reports
(1)
To Secretary
Each eligible entity that carries out a local self-sufficiency program approved by the Secretary under this section shall submit to the Secretary, not less than annually a report regarding the program. The contents of the report shall include—
(A)
a description of the activities carried out under the program;
(B)
a description of the effectiveness of the program in assisting families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency;
(C)
a description of the effectiveness of the program in coordinating resources of communities to assist families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency; and
(D)
any recommendations of the eligible entity or the appropriate program coordinating committee for legislative or administrative action that would improve the self-sufficiency program carried out by the Secretary and ensure the effectiveness of the program.
(2)
HUD annual report

The Secretary shall submit to the Congress annually, as a part of the report of the Secretary under section 3536 of this title, a report summarizing the information submitted by public housing agencies under paragraph (1) and describing any additional research needs of the Secretary to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The report under this paragraph shall also include any recommendations of the Secretary for improving the effectiveness of the self-sufficiency program under this section.

(n)
GAO report

The Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Congress reports under this subsection evaluating and describing the Family Self-Sufficiency program carried out by the Secretary under this section.

(o)
Definitions
In this section:
(1)
Eligible entity

The term “eligible entity” means an entity that meets the requirements under subsection (c)(2) to administer a Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section.

(2)
Eligible family

The term “eligible family” means a family that meets the requirements under subsection (c)(1) to participate in the Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section.

(3)
Participating family

The term “participating family” means an eligible family that is participating in the Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section.

(Sept. 1, 1937, ch. 896, title I, § 23, as added Pub. L. 101–625, title V, § 554(a), Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 4225; amended Pub. L. 102–550, title I, §§ 106, 185(b), Oct. 28, 1992, 106 Stat. 3684, 3747; Pub. L. 104–316, title I, § 122(l), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3837; Pub. L. 104–330, title V, § 501(b)(8), Oct. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 4042; Pub. L. 105–276, title V, § 509(a), Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2530; Pub. L. 105–277, div. A, § 101(f) [title VIII, § 405(d)(31), (f)(23)], Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–337, 2681–425, 2681–433; Pub. L. 113–128, title V, § 512(ii), July 22, 2014, 128 Stat. 1721; Pub. L. 115–174, title III, § 306(a), May 24, 2018, 132 Stat. 1339.)
cite as: 42 USC 1437u