The Housing Authority of the City of Charleston (CHA) operates a Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program throughout its jurisdiction. The purpose/goal of the FSS Program is to assist unemployed and underemployed persons to achieve economic independence from government assistance programs by coordinating support services from public and private sectors in order to aid participants in obtaining job skills and training. The FSS Program Specialist arranges the necessary services on behalf of qualified FSS participants.

CHA offers a variety of incentives to encourage the participation of eligible families:

  1. Homeownership Review – Provides participants with the opportunity to have their financial situation reviewed by a mortgage underwriter. Through a simple application process, assisted by the Homeownership Specialist, an evaluation is done and recommendations are made to help the participant prepare for mortgage pre-qualification. An underwriter reviews the family’s credit report, debt to income ratio, employment history, and payment funding.
  2. Educational Workshops – Allows participants to connect with CHA-sponsored educational workshops and seminars in order to learn about employment and educational opportunities, parenting, health, career, and financial issues, and homeownership.

The majority of willing participants would be those seeking employment or educational opportunities. Those parties that express an interest would be deemed eligible regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or family status (with or without children).

The FSS Specialist will determine the types of services needed by the FSS applicant after a thorough interview has been conducted and a needs assessment completed.

Families participating in FSS may accumulate funds in an escrow account. These funds are generated as a result of periodic increases in earned income by the FSS participant. Each time a change in income is reported by the participant to CHA, a recalculation of their monthly escrow is determined. The balance of the escrow account is eventually distributed to the family.

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