On September 27, the House Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance of the Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS), a popular program among CLPHA members that promotes local strategies that leverage public and private resources, enabling low-income families to increase their earned income and decrease or eliminate the need for rental assistance and/or other government assistance.
According to Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI), the hearing “was essential in learning what needs to be done to achieve our goal of helping families both increase their employability and become less dependent on government assistance.”
Subcommittee Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), an enthusiastic proponent of the program, declared he will be introducing companion legislation in the House to expand and make the program permanent, similar to S. 1344, Family Self Sufficiency Act, legislation introduced in the Senate by fellow Missourian Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO).
Hearing witnesses included CLPHA member Stacy L. Spann, Executive Director, Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC); along with Aaron Gornstein, President and CEO, Preservation of Affordable Housing; Jeffrey Lubell, Director of Housing and Community Initiatives, Abt Associates; Kristin Siglin, Senior Vice President, Policy, Housing Partnership Network; and Sherry Riva, Executive Director, Compass Working Capital.
According to Spann, “HOC’s FSS program has transformed the lives of hundreds of families by providing career development support that helps HOC customers achieve increased self-sufficiency. Participants receive comprehensive case management and service connections that support them in gaining and improving employment through one-on-one assessments, goal setting, referrals, skills training, and education. Since HOC’s FSS program began in 1993, we have graduated 938 participants from the program.”
All of the witnesses were complimentary of the FSS program, detailing how their work with, or research of, the program has transformed lives by showing significant positive impacts on life outcomes for children, adults, and seniors across a range of areas. Also, in a welcome display of bi-partisan unity, none of the subcommittee members displayed outward antipathy or criticism towards FSS. As Cleaver stated, “this is a program that works.”