Family Self-Sufficiency helps participants set training and educational goals that will lead to higher paying jobs. Participants will be connected to existing community resources that can provide assistance such as the following: childcare, housing, transportation, personal and family support, food and basic needs, health, career counseling, employment search, education enrollment, and more. In addition, the FSS program will have a strong emphasis on assisting participants with financial success, home ownership, education achievement, and career advancement.
The first step is to complete an FSS application and release of information form, and submit the completed forms to the Family Self Sufficiency program. Completed applications can be dropped off in person or mailed to: FSS, PO Box 397, 600 Merritt Avenue, Oshkosh, WI 54903. It is critical that all forms be thoroughly completed and mailed together or the process will be delayed. After FSS receives the completed forms, the application will be placed on the waitlist and the applicant will receive additional information about the FSS program. Once the applicant moves to the top of the waitlist, the applicant will be contacted and invited to attend an information and intake session with FSS staff to provide additional information on the program and to complete an extensive applicant assessment. The FSS program will then develop an Individual Training and Services Plan that outlines the goals of the participant and FSS program during participation in the program. Important: You MUST be a current Housing Choice Voucher or Winnebago County Family Unit recipient to be eligible for FSS. The Head of Household of your unit must be the primary participant in the FSS program if you apply. Participating in the FSS program will not affect your housing status with the Housing Choice Voucher or Winnebago County Family Unit programs. To be considered eligible, you cannot owe the Housing Authority money and you must be in compliance with your lease. The HA will comply fully with all Federal, State, and local nondiscrimination laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and US Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations governing Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. The HA shall not deny any family or individual the equal opportunity to apply for or participate in the FSS program on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, age, familial or marital status, handicap or disability, or sexual orientation in full compliance with applicable Civil Rights laws. The HA will not discriminate against otherwise qualified persons because of their disabilities and will make reasonable accommodations to the person’s disability to allow participation in the FSS program. The HA may decide that an accommodation is not reasonable if it causes undue financial and/or administrative burdens.
FSS participation can last up to five years, depending on the individual needs of each participant. During participation in the FSS program, most increases in rent that occur as a result of increased earned income are deposited into an interest-bearing escrow account that is available to the participant upon successful graduation from the FSS program. Below is an example of how the account works.
The following is an example of how the FSS participant can accumulate assets in the escrow account and utilize these funds in collaboration with an FSS partner to purchase and own a home. 1. Danielle enrolls in the FSS program. Her income is $1000 per month. Her rent is $300 per month (approximately 30% of adjusted income). 2. While participating in FSS, Danielle obtains a new education certification as a result of work with an FSS partner. Following this, Danielle worked with an employment specialist to find a new job that matched her new skills. Danielle soon found new employment. She receives a pay increase of $1000 per month, which now totals $2000 per month in income. Danielle pays $600 per month in rent, which is an increase of $300 from when she enrolled into FSS (approximately 30% of income). 3. Because the $300 increase in Danielle’s rent is a result of an increase in earned income, and Danielle was participating in FSS, the $300 rent increase is deposited into an interest-bearing escrow account. This money is saved until graduation from the FSS program following successful completion of the 5-year ITSP. After 24 months of this deposit, Danielle will have $7200 plus interest in her escrow account (24 months at $300 per month).