Abt Associates recently released a report that evaluated Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) programs operated by the Lynn Housing Authority and the Cambridge Housing Authority in partnership with Compass Working Capital in Massachusetts. The report, funded by the Oak Foundation and HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), compared the change over time in earnings and welfare and Social Security Income for FSS participants to those in a matched comparison group. The study occurred between October 2010 and March 2015.
The study found that FSS participants performed better than the comparison groups in terms of earning, credit, and debt. This included FSS participants having higher earning growth, reductions in welfare, growth in credit scores, and reductions in credit cards and derogatory debt than the comparison group.
FSS provides a critical source of funding for PHAs to help their residents increase self-sufficiency. Although the FSS program was established by Congress 27 years ago, the Abt study is only the third to compare earnings outcomes of FSS participants to a comparison group and the first to study credit and debt outcomes.