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Family Self-Sufficiency Program Delivers Success


  • The Family Self-Sufficiency Program wanted to document its successes
  • Abt created a digital book based on evaluations in Massachusetts
  • Abt developed tools to run and measure an effective program
The Challenge

For more than 25 years, the Family Self-Sufficiency program (FSS) has helped subsidized housing residents make progress toward economic security. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which runs FSS, wanted to document some successes.

The Approach

FSS helps subsidized housing residents build earnings, assets and financial capability. FSS accomplishes this through case management or coaching and a financial incentive: an escrow savings account that grows with participants’ earnings. Abt also conducted an evaluation of local FSS programs in Lynn and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The evaluation found the program boosted participants’ annual household earnings by an average of $6,305. Program participants had gains in credit scores and reductions in credit card and derogatory debt that exceeded available benchmarks.

The Results

Abt created a digital book to highlight its history. The book focuses on eight people, as well as an overall look at broader accomplishments. Abt also helped HUD develop a guidebook and online training on how to run and measure an effective FSS program. The materials will provide participants with guidance on how to strengthen their programs.