A Little Known HUD Program Could Help Lift Renters Out of Poverty

Posted by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity on January 31, 2023

In this Spotlight Exclusive, Markita Morris-Louis, CEO of Compass Working Capital, breaks down how HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) helps to lift low-income families out of poverty. She notes that in assisted housing, “families pay 30% of their income towards rent as an affordability mechanism.” Unfortunately, any increase in earned income yields a proportional increase in rent and ineligibility to income-based benefits such as SNAP and food assistance. Through FSS, families can save the increase in their rent over time in an account and have unrestricted access to that account upon graduation from the program. She is believes there would be strong bipartisan support for expanding the program. “We would love to see that when a person comes off the waiting list for a housing voucher, this escrow account is automatically opened up for them so that the moment that they increase their earned income and have to pay a higher rent, that money’s put into their account,” Morris-Louis envisions.

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