Family Self Sufficiency program FAQs

How do I qualify for FSS?

To qualify, you must live in Federally-funded Public Housing in Brockton or you must have a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher issued by the Brockton or Milton housing authorities. The Federally-funded Public Housing developments in Brockton are:

  • Arthur Paquin Way
  • Hillside Village
  • Crescent Court
  • Manning Towers
  • Campello Towers “A” and “B”
  • Caffrey Towers “A” and “B”
  • Sullivan Towers
Why should I join FSS?

People enroll for one of four reasons:

  1. To buy a home
  2. To start a business
  3. To send someone on their lease to college
  4. To get their income above poverty levels
What other homeownership programs does the BHA run?

FSS is not a homeownership program.  People use their escrow funds for one of the four reasons listed above.

I joined FSS last year. When will my Escrow Savings Start?

Escrow depends upon three conditions:

  1. Someone in the household has an increase in earned income
  2. This increase in earnings is reported to the housing manager
  3. The increase in household income results in higher rent

You must continue to report all new income, but only rent increases due to earned income get sent to the Escrow Account.

When will I get my Escrow?

You will receive the balance in your account when you have achieved one of the following conditions:

  • You have a purchase and sales agreement on a home
  • Or your income has grown to the point that you are paying full market rent

You can use portions of these funds prior to the above conditions if the need is related to one of the four reasons listed in Question 2.

My vehicle needs repair. Can I get some of my Escrow Funds for this?

Yes. You can also ask for an Escrow Advance for expenses related to education, employment, preparing for homeownership or starting/running a business.

Will I have to pay back any funds that I use?

Escrow Advances are not a loan. You do not have to reimburse any funds granted from your account.  You DO have to justify your need and document the cost, and you will be asked to provide proof of the expenditure.

Do I have to let the FSS office know when my rent goes up?

The Escrow program happens automatically.  Please continue to report income and household changes to your housing manager, and pay your rent on time, every time, just as always.

How much will the Authority raise my rent if I join FSS?

Your rent will continue to be adjusted according to household income regardless of whether or not you enroll. If you do enroll, escrow will begin when and if you report an increase in earned income that results in a rent change.

My rent has increased because I got a raise in Social Security. Will the increase in rent go into Escrow?

Only higher rent due to earned income results in a portion of your payments being directed to your savings account.  The process is seamless:

  • You ALWAYS pay 30% of your monthly adjusted gross income for rent, regardless of enrolling in FSS or not
  • When your housing office raises your rent because of an increase in household income, a portion of that increase goes into Escrow if the rent increase was due to earned income.
What happens to my Escrow if I am not able to buy a home or exit the HCV or Public Housing program?

You keep your housing assistance if you are not successful with FSS. Any money that is in your account reverts back to HUD. Remember, you would have paid those rent increases anyway because the rules for how much you pay remain the same regardless of your FSS status. During the five years you are trying to become self-sufficient; you can use the funds to pay for transportation to work, tutoring and classes for yourself and your children, and much more.

Can I add some of my own savings to my FSS Escrow Account?

No. This account is held in trust against the day you are economically self-sufficient.

I am not working. Should I still enroll in Family Self-Sufficiency?

YES!  You should enroll at your lowest point of income:

  • Before you start or go back to work
  • Before you receive a pay increase that will result in higher rent
  • Before someone else on your lease (not a student) starts working
  • Before you accept a higher-paying job.
I do not plan to go back to work. Should I enroll?

Yes, for two reasons:

  • FSS offers much more than the Escrow Program. We try to support everyone’s efforts regardless of the goal they choose.
  • Be careful assuming that you will never go back to work; nobody can fully predict the future.
I wanted to buy a home. Do I have to wait five years before I can use my escrow as a down payment?

We support everyone to reach his or her goal regardless of the time involved.  We love to help Participants attain their goals sooner than five years.  And if you need additional time, we can extend your FSS term for an additional two years.

I’m disabled and need funds to pay for rent and utilities. Will FSS help me with this?

FSS funds can only be used towards any need related to:

  • Purchasing a home
  • Maintaining or starting a business
  • School and college expenses
  • Job and career expenses

The Family Self-Sufficiency Escrow account is not needs-based.  It is incentive-driven to help people move forward economically.