Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS)

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a five-year program designed to help assisted-rental housing and Housing Choice Voucher families become economically independent.

Who can participate in the FSS Program?

Any current NRHA assisted-rental housing or housing voucher head of household is eligible to enroll. Residents who are currently employed and/or enrolled in school are also encouraged to participate, though it is not required.

How does the FSS Program work?

The head of the household signs a five-year Contract of Participation with NRHA (contract includes everyone in the household).  This contract states the rights and responsibilities of the family and NRHA, outlines resources and supportive services to be provided, and identifies the activities to be completed by the family.

Once the contract is in place, the family is officially a participant and is entitled to receive all benefits available to FSS participants. Counselor will help access the services needed, offer encouragement, and coach the family over the next five years to strive to achieve their goals.

The head of household is required to seek and maintain suitable employment. As a result, the family’s income and rent will increase, and an escrow account is set up for the household.

Escrow Account

NRHA will set up an escrow account for the family. It’s a savings account that earns interest. When the family’s rent increases as their income rises, a portion of that increase is deposited into an escrow account. As the  income increases, the savings will grow in the account. When the Contract of Participation is successfully completed*, the money in this escrow account is paid to the head of household.

*Successful contract completion: all family members must be off welfare assistance for at least 12 consecutive months before the end of the contract and all adults must be employed.

What services are provided by the FSS Program?

FSS counselors will help you determine and find the services needed to become self-sufficient. These may include:

  • Job training
  • Personalized career guidance
  • Education programs, including GED preparation
  • Transportation
  • Child care
  • Parenting skills
  • Personal counseling
  • Support groups
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Credit counseling and repair
  • Homeownership counseling

FSS counselors may recommend that you attend special FSS classes or monthly workshops. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Resume preparation
  • Job readiness and employability
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Educational assessment
  • Virginia Employment Commission registration
  • Personal financial management
How do I know the FSS Program will work for me?

The FSS Program has worked for hundreds of families. Joining the FSS program will provide the critical skills to improve chances of gainful employment and improve the quality of life for families and their children.

The Results

FSS families are proven to have higher self-esteem, achieve educational goals, and hold better-paying jobs than they did before joining the program.

How can I sign up?

Contact Gwen Williams, NRHA Resident Services Specialist

314-1486 or


Program Coordinating Committee

As part of the Family Self Sufficiency Program (FSS), a Program Coordinating Committee (PCC) has been established to assist in providing supportive services to clients to help them become employed and self- sufficient. It consist of public and private agencies that provide an array of services from GED, job skill training, computer skills, resume building, employment opportunities, childcare assistance, post education, financial/ budgeting counseling and credit counseling. New partners are added to the PCC based on the services needed.

Meetings are held every quarter to gather information on new programs, services and job opportunities that will help participants become employed. This information is mailed bi-weekly and is made available everyday on the third floor outside the Client Services office in what is called the “Information Hub”. Through the use of these services many have become employed or received improved employed, therefore increasing the rental revenue in both the public housing and the HCV program. 

The NRHA FSS Program is partnering with the City of Virginia Beach’s FSS Program to ensure that the same services and programs can be extended to their participants.  Currently there are more than 20 partners on the PCC. Annually, a Partners Fair is held in October or November to connect the FSS participants with the partners face to face.  At the fair, participants get to speak with them to ask questions about their programs, services and sign up right on the spot up. 

Information about job opportunities and hiring events are available through the Virginia Employment Commission and Opportunity Inc. Tidewater Community College provides participants with job skill training opportunities in the areas of Healthcare, Culinary Arts and Security. These are just a few of the partners on the PCC that provide

The Program Coordinating Committee’s goal is to help FSS participants become employed or obtain improved employment.   In doing this, the participants reach the ultimate goal of the Family Self Sufficiency Program which is becoming self-sufficient and being able to provide for their families on their own without assistance.


Resources: The Program Coordinating Committee’s growing list of partners includes:

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NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATION - NRHA provides equal housing and employment opportunities for all persons. NRHA does not discriminate against any applicant, resident or employee on the basis of disability, age, race, color, religion, gender, familial status or national origin in the admission, access or operations of programs, services or activities. NRHA complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. An internal grievance procedure is available to resolve complaints. If you feel you have been discriminated against, you have the right to file a complaint of discrimination  by calling toll free (888) 799-2085. Qualified individuals who need communication aids, services or other accommodations to participate in programs and activities are invited to make your needs known to the 504/ADA Coordinator, Kim Thomas (757) 623-1111. Please give NRHA at least seven to ten days advance notice to meet your needs