Charleston-Kanawha Housing’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program

Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is a voluntary program for Section 8 Participants. The objective of the FSS program is to help motivate families move toward self-sufficiency.

The process involves a five year contract, between the family and Charleston-Kanawha Housing, stating their obstacles and goals to achieving self-sufficiency. Two goals that must be met under the contract are:

The family must be free of any AFDC, TANF or other welfare assistance checks and SSI payments that are subject to income eligibility tests (excluding transitional food stamps and medical card and SSI payments to guardians of disabled children) for one full year prior to the expiration date of the contract;


The family member participating in the FSS program must seek and maintain suitable employment and be employed at the expiration date of the contract.

Any other goals that the family may want to obtain can be added to the contract such as:

Improve your credit
Obtain your GED
Obtain job training
Obtain child care
Purchase a home

Remember your goals, interests and passions are yours and yours alone. The FSS program is only in place to help you and your family achieve them .During the term of the contract, Charleston-Kanawha Housing will assist in connecting the family with the resources to overcome obstacles and meet their goals to move toward self-sufficiency.

Facts to Remember

Failure to complete the FSS program does not affect the Section 8 assistance in any way.

Should the family still be eligible for rental assistance upon expiration and/or completion of the contract and wish to continue, they have that option.

Should the family’s Section 8 assistance be terminated, the FSS Contract of Participation automatically terminates.

Completion of the Contract of Participation occurs when Charleston-Kanawha Housing determines that:

The family has fulfilled all of its responsibilities under the contract; or

30% of the family’s monthly adjusted income equals or exceeds the gross rent or payment standard, whichever has been applied.

Incentives Of the Family Self -Sufficiency Program Are:

Escrow Account

Homeownership Program

To date the FSS program has released escrow accounts in excess of $400,000.

The highest escrow release to date to one individual was almost $13,000.

Anytime there is an increase in household income, there is an increase in the family’s portion of rent, or decrease in the family’s utility reimbursement. If a FSS participant has an increase in EARNED income the difference it makes in 30% of the monthly adjusted income is credited to the escrow account on behalf of the family.

Escrow Example:

30% of an FSS participant’s income is $25, and that participant gets a job and that 30% increases to $100. That is $75 Charleston-Kanawha Housing is no longer paying to the landlord and instead of reverting that money back to program funds, that $75 will be credited to an account on behalf of the family as long as that income is being earned. Based on increases and decreases in that earned income, the amount credited to the account will be adjusted. The family will be notified of changes in the amount being credited and the reason for such change; and the family will be notified annually of the amount in the account.

Upon successful completion of the FSS Contract of Participation, as determined by Charleston-Kanawha Housing, the monies in the account, minus any amounts owed Charleston-Kanawha Housing plus any interest earned, will be given to the family.

THIS MONEY IS NON-TAXABLE and can be used as the family wishes to use it.

Charleston-Kanawha Housing has opted to implement a Section 8 Homeownership program and has opted to link such eligibility to participation in the FSS program.

Be a first-time homeowner or not have owned a home within the past 3 years

Must be employed for the past twelve (12) months, work minimum of 30 hours per week, and earn a minimum gross annual income of $14,500 (current minimum wage $7.25/hr x 2000 hours).
Receive minimum of $710 per month from Social Security/SSI.

Family must attend and complete pre-assistance home-ownership and housing counseling

Maximum term of homeownership assistance is 15 years

Type of home: new, under construction, or existing

Two inspections required- One by CKH and one by independent professional inspector selected and paid for by family

Lender qualifications and loan terms will be reviewed by CKH

Minimum down payment requirement- 3% of purchase price

At least 1% of purchase price to come from family’s personal resources

Home ownership assistance payments will be paid directly to the lender

Recapture provisions apply for up to ten (10) years

Monthly Home ownership expenses include:

Principal and interest ( and MIP)
Real estate tax escrow
Home insurance escrow
Allowance for maintenance expenses
Allowance for repairs and replacements, and
Allowance for utilities

If you are interested in the Family Self-Sufficiency program call Austin O'Connor, FSS Case Specialist 304-348-6451


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