Family Self Sufficiency Program

FSS program flyerThe Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program was created in the 1980s as a way for people who receive public housing or Section 8 to eliminate or reduce dependence on government subsidies and save money by increasing earned income. This earned income progression results in tenant rent increases which results in contributions to an escrow or savings account. Upon graduation, the money in your escrow account can be used to put toward the purchase of a home, start a business, further your education or save for your children’s education. The program combines stable and affordable housing along with staff support to help you get what you need to reach your goals. To qualify, you must be a current participant of the Housing Authority of Clackamas County (HACC), willing to commit to long term education and employment goals (up to 5 years) and agree to work closely with your FSS Coordinator.

You must be a public housing or voucher participant to be eligible

Eligibility Criteria

  • Head of Household must be willing to commit to seeking and maintaining suitable employment.
  • Must be motivated and able to commit to setting and working toward accomplishing goals, which will increase your skills, education, and employment status.
  • Must commit to actively participating in the development of an Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP), and completing the activities within the dates listed in the ITSP.
  • Must commit to attending FSS Interim and Annual Review appointments as scheduled.
  • Must commit to promptly completing and submitting Quarterly Progress Reports, communicating regularly with the FSS Coordinator, and sharing updates on the progress you are making towards your goals.
  • Must become independent of TANF cash assistance and remain independent of cash assistance for at least 12 consecutive months before the FSS Contract expires.
  • Must adhere to the requirements of your lease.

Frequently Asked Questions


The Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) empowers participants to reach their education, financial, and/or employment goals by offering one-on-one support, resources and by providing an escrow (savings) account.


Anyone who is currently in either the Housing Choice Voucher or Public Housing Programs.


The FSS contract is valid for five-years, but participants can graduate prior to the expiration of the contract.


No, you will continue to receive housing assistance whether or not you complete the program. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by participating!


Yes, absolutely. Participating in FSS in voluntary.


Yes, actually households with zero or low earned income will get the most out of the escrow account when they do start earning income.


When a Head of Household enrolls in the program, an escrow (savings) account is established for that resident. Every time the household experiences an increase in earned income, there is the potential for their monthly escrow deposit to also increase. 

For example, John Smith started the FSS program with no earned income. Two months later, John begins earning a wage at a new job. John experiences a $500 increase in rent. John will also receive up to $500 in monthly escrow deposits. In this example, if John’s income remained the same, he would have an escrow balance of approximately $29,000 at the end of the five years.

Remember, the escrow account is based on your earned income. Earned income is job wages, and/or self-employment. Child Support, TANF, Social Security are not earned income.


No, the Housing Authority manages the account while the participant is still working on their goals.  

However, participants have the option to request a one-time withdraw from the account if they are using it towards completing a goal outlined in the contract.  


The escrow earnings are not taxable.  They do gain a minimal amount of interest throughout the five-year period.

  • The Head of Household will have completed the four or five goals that they wanted to focus on when they enrolled in the program (listed on their ITSP).
  • The household cannot be receiving Welfare Assistance (TANF) for the 12-consecutive months prior to graduation
  • The Head of Household will need to be full-time employed based on education, training and experience.

No, the Housing Authority cannot tell you how to spend your escrow money.  


You may request an extension up to two years depending on the circumstances. 


Contact Hillary Merritt, Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator at 503-650-3423 or


Enrollment Forms

Completing the Application and Self-Assessment are the first step of enrolling in FSS. After the document is received by the FSS Coordinator, the resident will be contacted for a FSS intake appointment to sign the Contract of Participation.

Mail the forms to:

Housing Authority of Clackamas County
PO Box 1510
Oregon City, OR 97045

Download the Application and Self-Assessment

Department Staff
Hillary Merritt
Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator
Nicole Lewis,
Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator


13930 Gain St Oregon City, OR 97045

Office Hours:

Monday to Thursday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
By appointment only after 5 p.m.

After Hours Maintenance Emergency:

Maintenance (Monday - Thursday):

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