2. Outreach and Goal-Setting
3. Case Management / Coaching
4. Increasing Earnings
5. Building Financial Capability
6. FSS Infrastructure
6. FSS Infrastructure
PHAs and owners must decide how the FSS program will operate within the agency or organization and relate to other programs that the agency administers.
In particular, PHAs and owners should consider the following:
PHAs and owners may choose to not administer the program directly and instead contract with a third party to administer some or all of the FSS program.
The following types of organizations administer FSS programs:
PHAs and owners can contract out for the administration of the entire FSS program, including the administration of the escrow account, for case management/coaching services only, or for specific programs and services such as job placement.
This video discusses the benefits of public-private partnerships for FSS.
FSS © 2017 | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
FSS programs may be able to obtain case management or coaching services for FSS participants for free or minimal cost through partners or by using volunteers or interns.
Partner-Provided Case Management Services
Many FSS partners serve many of the same clients and already provide case management services for which FSS participants may be eligible. These organizations may be willing to devote some of their case management/coaching resources to the FSS participants as part of a joint effort, helping FSS programs serve larger caseloads effectively.
Some aspects of case management for FSS participants may be available through:
College and Graduate School Interns and Federal Work-Study students
Some FSS programs also use federal work-study students or other college or graduate students to perform administrative tasks, make phone calls, research community resources, and other tasks to support the work of the FSS coordinators. Students who are working toward degrees in social work or related fields are good candidates to work as interns or through the Federal Work-Study program.
Volunteer Case Managers
The FSS program shown in this video uses volunteer case managers as mentors for FSS participants.
Many volunteer mentors are FSS graduates themselves. Volunteer mentors are assigned to families who are less likely to experience crisis -smaller families where the head of household has at least a high school degree.
Regardless of whether supplemental staff are volunteers or staff from an outside agency, volunteers and interns will need training and ongoing supervision by the FSS program manager or coordinator.
Although program partners can provide some aspects of case management to FSS program participants, the PHA's or owner’s FSS program coordinator(s) must always take ultimate responsibility for the success of each FSS family.
As a general rule, funds provided by HUD through the FSS Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) may not be used to pay for routine public housing or Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program functions. However, HUD provides for a limited exception in cases where the exercise of additional duties enhances the effectiveness of the FSS program.
Some FSS programs find that it is beneficial for FSS program coordinators to also conduct annual and interim income reexaminations for their FSS participants so that they are aware of any changes in income and have direct access to resident data. Other FSS programs prefer that FSS coordinators focus solely on administering the FSS program so they have time to handle larger caseloads of FSS participants or in order to provide more intensive assistance.
The FSS coordinator NOFA describes the circumstances under which FSS coordinators may take on other roles within the PHA:
Funds under this FSS NOFA may not be used for performance of routine PH or HCV program functions. However, an FSS coordinator may perform some PH or HCV functions, such as annual reexaminations for FSS participants, if it enhances the effectiveness of the FSS program. This provision is to be employed only to the extent that these functions enhance, and do not interfere with, the FSS Coordinators’ ability to fully fulfill the role of the FSS Program Coordinator as his or her primary work. FSS Coordinator positions MUST NOT be used to balance or fill in for gaps in traditional staffing. Performance of routine HCV and/or PH functions for non-FSS families does not enhance the effectiveness of the FSS program and is therefore an ineligible use of FSS funds.
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Public and Indian Housing
Family Self-Sufficiency Program
Funding Opportunity Number: FR-6000-N-04
Page 26, IV Application and Submission Information, F4b. Funding Restrictions.
Activities that an FSS coordinator may take on at an agency under this limited exception include:
Regardless of how a PHA program allocates the responsibilities associated with FSS participants among PHA staff, there needs to be a way for coordinators and housing specialists to routinely communicate about participants and their actions.
PHAs and Owners Could:
Ideally, FSS program coordinators should be informed any time an FSS participant:
As FSS program coordinators, you may need to educate your agency or organization about the FSS program and why the program is good for residents and the organization.
Some PHA and owner leaders may not see self-sufficiency programs as an essential part of their agency’s priorities or understand how the provision of services can affect how much a resident pays in rent.
In addition, some PHA leadership/owners may see their agency’s role as only providing housing and may not understand the benefit of and relationship to self-sufficiency programs like FSS.
This video discusses the importance of educating both the PHA or owner and external partners about the benefits of the FSS program.
Providing performance reports about FSS families to the Board and senior management at least annually can help build internal support for the FSS program. PHAs and owners can create an FSS report that highlights specific achievements of the program.
Performance Reports can include:
This video offers some suggestions on how to conduct outreach about the FSS program to senior PHA and owner leadership.
PHAs and owners can also promote and advocate for their FSS programs within their communities:
The FSS program in this video describes how they use the graduation ceremony as an opportunity to recognize their graduates and their partners, as well as advocate for the program by involving the media, elected officials, and funders.
The more people can hear real stories from low-income FSS participants who are working hard to improve their families’ lives and those of future generations, the broader the public’s and elected officials’ understanding becomes at all levels of community and government.
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