Family Self-Sufficiency

The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program of Peoria Housing Authority (PHA) is an employment and savings incentive program for low-income families that are participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program or living in PHA Public Housing. The FSS program was first enacted in 1990. The program offers case management services to help families pursue and maintain employment and become financially independent.

An incentive component of the program includes an escrow savings account into which PHA deposits a portion of any increased rental charges that a family pays as its income from earnings rise. Families that successfully complete the FSS program by reaching their goals, may graduate from the program and withdraw the funds from the FSS escrow account after the successful completion of their five-year contract.

PHA’s FSS Mission

Our mission is to empower people to take control of their lives by becoming independent, productive members of the community. Family Self-Sufficiency does not simply attack the symptoms of poverty; it tackles dependency on all fronts and replaces powerlessness with the opportunity for a better future. The goal is to assist families in becoming and remaining independent of government assistance.


  What does the FSS program at PHA look like?

At PHA, we have a Five-Phase in Five-Years approach to our FSS Program. Find out more about the five phases here and how you can achieve your long-term life goals!

Phase I – Personal Development & Assessment

This is first contact with your Coordinator and the completion of your orientation to the program. You and your coordinator will answer the questions: What you do want to achieve? What are your goals? How do you want to improve your life?

Phase II – Development of Individual Action Plan

Now that your goals have been established, you will dive deep into “how are you going to get there?” You and your Coordinator will work together to make a game plan of how the goals are going to be mapped out and how you will achieve your dreams. Together with your coordinator, you will answer the questions: How do I get to where I want to be? What are the first steps?

Phase III – Maintenance of Effort

Once the plan is created, it’s time to implement and maintain the progress towards the goal. Your coordinator will check in once a month to see how things are going and if there is any assistance needed. Our FSS team understands that life comes at everyone unexpectantly, so it is okay if you’re unable to work on your goals all the time. Our FSS Coordinators are trained to help with much more then just achieving goals and come equipped with resources that can help with a multitude of obstacles. (See below for some services available to help!)

Phase IV – Transition

For at least one year prior to graduating from the program you must be employed with a steady income. Having a steady income is a large part of becoming self-sufficient, which is why this is a requirement prior to graduating from the FSS program. During the transition phase of the program, you and your coordinator will focus on making sure that everything to complete your goal is in order and begin to explore the next steps for your life post- graduation. That could mean looking into homeownership, looking at housing outside of PHA, or many other options that will help set you and your family up to move from Welfare Assistance to INDEPENDENCE.

Phase V – Graduation

Once all goals and program requirements have been completed, you are able to apply for graduation. A FSS Graduation is a short ceremony that happens at a PHA Board Meeting. Each participant is presented with a certificate of completion. Once you have your certificate of completion, you have officially graduated from the FSS Program and, if applicable, are able to withdraw the funds from your FSS escrow account!

Are you ready to get started and/or have more questions?! Reach out to one of our FSS Coordinators today to learn more:

If you currently live in PHA Public Housing, please reach out to:

Vernon Thomas
309-676-8736 ext 14601
VThomas@pha.peoria.il.us

If you are currently on the HCV Program, please reach out to:

Cameryn Shafar
309-676-8736 ext 14104
CShafar@pha.peoria.il.us


  What services are available to help me become self-sufficient?
As you work towards your goals, our FSS Coordinator will work with you and other agencies to help find appropriate services needed to allow you to achieve your goals. These services could include:
  • Job Training
  • Educational Program
  • Counseling
  • Resume Preparation
  • Homebuyers Education Class
  • Child Care
  • Financial Management Counseling (i.e. credit improvement, budgeting, savings)
  • Transportation
  • Job Readiness Preparation