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Family Self-Sufficiency

Helping families with housing vouchers reach lasting financial stability.

The Family Self Sufficiency program (FSS) is a voluntary program that helps families with Section 8 housing vouchers in Greater Boston increase their earnings and build assets. The program has a financial incentive in the form of an escrow savings account, and a coaching component designed to help participants access services and overcome barriers on the way to achieving their goals.

Family Self-Sufficiency Coaching (FSS)

Woman smiling outside in front of a tree.

One Family is partnering with Metro Housing|Boston to deliver Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) services to families with Section 8 housing vouchers in Greater Boston. Our agencies work together to help families achieve economic independence through career, education, and financial coaching, serving roughly 240 families each year. All FSS participants work with a One Family coach who supports their education, career, and asset-building goals. 

Benefits include:

  • Free one-on-one coaching

  • Free homeownership workshops

  • An escrow savings account, which automatically builds savings for you while you are in the program

  • Access to community resources (like food, childcare, utilities, and more)


​To enroll in One Family's FSS program, you must:

  • Be part of a household with a Housing Choice Voucher (also known as Section 8 voucher) with Metro Housing|Boston

  • Be 18 years or older

  • Be in good standing with your housing provider

How can I learn more about FSS?


Please watch this video from our partners at Compass Working Capital for more information on the FSS program in general:

Interested in joining the Family Self- Sufficiency Program?

If you are not currently an FSS participant with Metro Housing|Boston and would like to learn more about enrolling in the FSS program, please email for more information.


If you have a Section 8 voucher but not from Metro Housing|Boston, please follow this link to find an FSS program you may be eligible for.

If you are a Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) voucher holder, this unfortunately is not the same voucher you need to be eligible for this program; however, there is a similar program to the FSS program for MRVP holders called the Self-Sufficiency Program (SSP) that you may be eligible for. Please reach out to your housing agency for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions


What can I expect from my FSS Coach?

  • One Family coaches help participants set and achieve their career, education, and/or financial goals.

  • Coaching sessions are personalized to meet your needs.  

  • Coaching sessions are held at least once every three months.

  • Coaches also help remove barriers by helping you access community resources (like food, childcare, utility support, etc.). 


What types of goals can a participant have in the program?


As an FSS participant, you choose the goals you want to work on in the program. Some examples of goals include but are not limited to: 

  • Finding a job 

  • Increasing your Income 

  • Pursuing educational goals (like college or a certification)

  • Becoming a homeowner

  • Building or improving your credit 

  • Creating a debt repayment plan 

What is an  escrow account?


An escrow account is a special type of savings account that gets created for participants in the FSS program.


When a family with a housing voucher increases their income, it usually results in their paying a higher out-of-pocket amount for rent. In the FSS program, however, as a family’s annual income increases and their rent is subsequently increased, the dollar amount of that rent increase is set aside for them in an escrow account every month. They can then access the money they have saved when they complete the program, and use that money for major purchases like a house or a car, or to achieve their other goals.

How do you start escrowing?


Participants start to "escrow" (accumulate money in their escrow account) when there is an increase in their household’s earned income, they have notified Metro Housing|Boston (MH|B) of this income change, and had their rent re-calculated.

Can I see an example of how escrow gets calculated?


Sure! Say your annual earned income is $20,000 when you first join the FSS program, and your calculated rent payment is $450 per month. You begin working with your FSS coach and start working towards career, education and/or financial goals.  

Graph showing earned income at $20,000 per year, and rent at $450 per month.

You have been in the program now for a year and get a new job that pays you more. Your earned income is now $24,000! As a result of your increased income (yellow), your new expected rent payment is $600. 

Graph showing earned income at $24,000 per year, and rent at $600 per month.

Usually, that extra income would only go towards your rent payment. However, as an FSS participant, Metro Housing|Boston will automatically deposit the $150 difference into your FSS escrow account instead when you pay your $600 rent every month. Even though you are paying more rent, that money still stays “in your pocket”. 


After one year of paying $600 rent/month (with $150 added to your escrow account every month), you have now saved $1,800. 


If there is no additional change to your household’s annual earned income in the next 4 years of your program, at the end of your five-year contract you would have saved $7,200!  If your earned income goes up again, and your rent is calculated again, your monthly escrow deposits will grow too! 

When can a participant get the money from their escrow account?

Participants will receive a check when they graduate from FSS.  Most participants are in the program for five years.

Can I take money out of my escrow account before I graduate?

If a participant needs money to pay for something related to one of their FSS goals – like books for school, or a car repair so they can drive to work, or a T pass, Metro Housing|Boston can approve a withdrawal from their escrow account before graduation.  If you need money for utility bills or other household expenses, One Family may be able to connect you to resources for those bills, but escrow cannot be used for utility payments.  

How much money can be saved in my escrow account?

Up to $25,000.

What can a participant use the money in their escrow account for?

Once a participant has met all the graduation requirements of the FSS program, they receive a check and can use their escrow savings however they wish! It is their money and they earned it. Many participants choose to use it to pay off debt, make payments towards a house or car, or make other major purchases. 

What does graduating from FSS mean?


To graduate from the FSS program, you must:

  • Meet all goals set in your Individual Training Service Plan (ITSP) before your Contract of Participation (COP) end date. 

  • Be employed at the time of graduation.

  • Be in compliance with your lease. 

  • No one in the household can receive cash welfare (such as TANF) at the time of graduation.  

I have more questions. Who should I reach out to?


For questions about the FSS program in general, you can reach out to the FSS team at Metro Housing|Boston at

For questions about One Family’s coaching services, you can reach out to One Family's FSS team at 

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