Family Self-Sufficiency

Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program established in 1990 to help HCVP and LIPH programs residents to obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency.

The FSS program is available to all families receiving CMHA rental assistance. It’s voluntary and designed to assist families in becoming self-sufficient so that they no longer need to rely on public assistance. This program is available to all CMHA residents and the only requirement is the desire, willingness and commitment to make a change in your life and to take the steps necessary to become self-sufficient. Hundreds of families all over the country are already making better lives for themselves through this program.

CMHA residents will be linked to supportive programs such as job training, educational opportunities, homeownership training/counseling, financial literacy, counseling, after school programs, child care, health care, housekeeping services and English as a Second Language.

FSS Program Application

How does the FSS Program Work?
The FSS program is a voluntary program that provides support and assistance to CMHA residents and their families for up to five years. The purpose of this program is to help families with the assistance of community partners to become self-sufficient by attaining established goals.

The Head of the Household enters into an agreement with CMHA in which an Individual Training Service Plan (ITSP) is developed to identify the family's employment goals. It outlines the activities and services required to achieve these goals. A FSS Coordinator will support the FSS participant, take an interest in your future, and will refer you to public agencies and resources available in Cuyahoga County. FSS Coordinators will assist you in achieving your objectives by combining housing assistance with a number of other services. In this five year program (some families need less time), families can establish an escrow account (a savings account) that is often used to help pay for such things as a college education, a car, and/or the down payment on a new home.
Escrow Account
CMHA will establish an escrow account (savings account) when participants join the FSS Program. This is approximately 30% of a participant’s monthly adjusted income. Increases in rent due to increases in earned income are put into an escrow. This escrow account will be awarded to the FSS participant when they have successfully completed their FSS Contract of Participation. This account automatically saves escrow for the FSS participant and could help to reach any goals or personal endeavors they may have. The amount of money earned in an escrow account depends upon your participation.
Program Requirements
COMMITMENT! You will bring their own unique talents, skills and strengths to the FSS Program. CMHA will require you to be determined and committed in completing the activities listed in your ITSP. You will keep in touch FSS Coordinator regarding their progress towards self-sufficiency and meet with your FSS Coordinator twice a year in order to discuss and update your goals and activities.
Program Partners
The Program Coordinating Council (PCC) represents various community organizations that provide their time, resources and expertise in supporting the FSS Program. It is because of this support that the program is successful and that so many of the participants are able to turn their lives around and achieve their goals. CMHA FSS PCC Members are:

  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Rei-C
  • Cleveland Public Theatre
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Care Source
  • StepForward
  • Ohio Means Jobs
  • Towards Employment
  • Northern Ohio Recovery Association
  • Seeds of Literacy
  • Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities
  • Cleveland Housing Network
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Imagination Library
  • Sherwin Williams
After joining FSS and working with numerous resources, graduates leave the FSS Program having set their own goals, worked to achieve those goals, and changed their own lives to realize dreams they thought were never before possible.