The purpose of the Family Self-Sufficiency program established under this section is to promote the development of local strategies to coordinate use of assistance under sections 1437f and 1437g of this title with public and private resources, to enable eligible families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency.
Each public housing agency that was required to administer a local Family Self-Sufficiency program on May 24, 2018, shall operate such local program for, at a minimum, the number of families the agency was required to serve on May 24, 2018, subject only to the availability under appropriations Acts of sufficient amounts for housing assistance and the requirements of paragraph (2).
The number of families for which a public housing agency is required to operate such local program under paragraph (1) shall be decreased by 1 for each family from any supported rental housing program administered by such agency that, after October 21, 1998, fulfills its obligations under the contract of participation.
Each eligible entity carrying out a local program under this section shall enter into a contract with a household member of an eligible family, that elects to participate in the self-sufficiency program under this section. The contract shall set forth the provisions of the local program, shall establish specific interim and final goals by which compliance with and performance of the contract may be measured, and shall specify the resources and supportive services to be made available to the participating family pursuant to paragraph (2) and the responsibilities of the participating family. Housing assistance may not be terminated as a consequence of either successful completion of the contract of participation or failure to complete such contract. A contract of participation shall remain in effect until the participating family exits the Family Self-Sufficiency program upon successful graduation or expiration of the contract of participation, or for other good cause.
Each family participating in a local program shall be required to fulfill its obligations under the contract of participation not later than 5 years after the first recertification of income after entering into the contract. The eligible entity shall extend the term of the contract for any family that requests an extension, upon a finding of good cause.
The contract of participation shall require 1 household member of the participating family to seek and maintain suitable employment.
During the term of the contract of participation, the amount of rent paid by any participating family shall be calculated under the rental provisions of section 1437a of this title or section 1437f(o) of this title, as applicable.
For each participating family, an amount equal to any increase in the amount of rent paid by the family in accordance with the provisions of section 1437a or 1437f(o) of this title, as applicable, that is attributable to increases in earned income by the participating family, shall be placed in an interest-bearing escrow account established by the eligible entity on behalf of the participating family. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an eligible entity may use funds it controls under section 1437f or 1437g of this title for purposes of making the escrow deposit for participating families assisted under, or residing in units assisted under, section 1437f or 1437g of this title, respectively, provided such funds are offset by the increase in the amount of rent paid by the participating family. All Family Self-Sufficiency programs administered under this section shall include an escrow account. The Secretary shall not escrow any amounts for any family whose adjusted income exceeds 80 percent of the area median income. Amounts in the escrow account may be withdrawn by the participating family after the family ceases to receive income assistance under Federal or State welfare programs, upon successful performance of the obligations of the family under the contract of participation entered into by the family under subsection (d), as determined according to the specific goals and terms included in the contract, and under other circumstances in which the Secretary determines an exception for good cause is warranted. An eligible entity establishing such escrow accounts may make certain amounts in the accounts available to the participating families before full performance of the contract obligations based on compliance with, and completion of, specific interim goals included in the contract; except that any such amounts shall be used by the participating families for purposes consistent with the contracts of participation, as determined by such eligible entity.
Any amount placed in an escrow account established by an eligible entity for a participating family as required under paragraph (2), that exists after the end of a contract of participation by a household member of a participating family that does not qualify to receive the escrow, shall be used by the eligible entity for the benefit of participating families in good standing.
Any increase in the earned income of a family during the participation of the family in a local program established under this section may not be considered as income or a resource for purposes of eligibility of the family for other benefits, or amount of benefits payable to the family, under any program administered by the Secretary.
Each eligible entity carrying out a local program under this section shall, in consultation with the chief executive officer of the unit of general local government, develop an action plan under subsection (h), carry out activities under the local program, and secure commitments of public and private resources through a program coordinating committee established by such eligible entity under this subsection.
The program coordinating committee may consist of representatives of the eligible entity, the unit of general local government, the local agencies (if any) responsible for carrying out programs under title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act [29 U.S.C. 3111 et seq.], and other organizations, such as other State and local welfare and employment agencies, public and private primary, secondary, and post-secondary education or training institutions, nonprofit service providers, and private businesses. The eligible entity may, in consultation with the chief executive officer of the unit of general local government and tenants served by the program, utilize an existing entity as the program coordinating committee if it meets the requirements of this subsection.
The Secretary shall require each eligible entity carrying out a self-sufficiency program under this section to submit, for approval by the Secretary, an action plan under this subsection in such form and in accordance with such procedures as the Secretary shall require.
In developing the plan, the eligible entity shall consult with the chief executive officer of the applicable unit of general local government, the program coordinating committee established under subsection (g), representatives of the current and prospective participants of the program, any local agencies responsible for programs under title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act [29 U.S.C. 3111 et seq.], other appropriate organizations (such as other State and local welfare and employment or training institutions, child care providers, nonprofit service providers, and private businesses), and any other public and private service providers affected by the operation of the local program.
Subject to appropriations, the Secretary shall establish a formula by which annual funds shall be awarded or as otherwise determined by the Secretary for the costs incurred by an eligible entity in administering the Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section.
An eligible entity serving 25 or more participants in the Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section is eligible to receive an award equal to the costs, as determined by the Secretary, of 1 full-time family self-sufficiency coordinator position. The Secretary may, by regulation or notice, determine the policy concerning the award for an eligible entity serving fewer than 25 such participants, including providing prorated awards or allowing such entities to combine their programs under this section for purposes of employing a coordinator.
An eligible entity that meets performance standards set by the Secretary is eligible to receive an additional award sufficient to cover the costs of filling an additional family self-sufficiency coordinator position if such entity has 75 or more participating families, and an additional coordinator for each additional 50 participating families, or such other ratio as may be established by the Secretary based on the award allocation evaluation under subparagraph (E).
For purposes of calculating the award under this paragraph, each administratively distinct part of a State or regional eligible entity may be treated as a separate agency.
In determining whether an eligible entity meets a specific threshold for funding pursuant to this paragraph, the Secretary shall consider the number of participants enrolled by the eligible entity in its Family Self-Sufficiency program as well as other criteria determined by the Secretary.
The Secretary shall submit to Congress a report evaluating the award allocation under this subsection, and make recommendations based on this evaluation and other related findings to modify such allocation, within 4 years after May 24, 2018, and not less frequently than every 4 years thereafter. The report requirement under this subparagraph shall terminate after the Secretary has submitted 2 such reports to Congress.
Renewal of the full cost of all coordinators in the previous year at each eligible entity with an existing Family Self-Sufficiency program that meets applicable performance standards set by the Secretary.
Any awards allocated under this subsection by the Secretary in a fiscal year that have not been spent by the end of the subsequent fiscal year or such other time period as determined by the Secretary may be recaptured by the Secretary and shall be available for providing additional awards pursuant to paragraph (2)(B), or may be offset as determined by the Secretary. Funds appropriated pursuant to this section shall remain available for 3 years in order to facilitate the re-use of any recaptured funds for this purpose.
Programs under this section shall be required to report the number of families enrolled and graduated, the number of established escrow accounts and positive escrow balances, and any other information that the Secretary may require. Program performance shall be reviewed periodically as determined by the Secretary.
Each eligible entity carrying out a local program may, subject to the approval of the Secretary, make available and utilize common areas or unoccupied units for the provision or coordination of supportive services under the local program.
In establishing and carrying out the self-sufficiency program under this section, the Secretary shall allow eligible entities, units of general local government, and other organizations discretion and flexibility, to the extent practicable, in developing and carrying out local programs.
The owner of a privately owned property may voluntarily make a Family Self-Sufficiency program available to the tenants of such property in accordance with procedures established by the Secretary. Such procedures shall permit the owner to enter into a cooperative agreement with a local public housing agency that administers a Family Self-Sufficiency program or, at the owner’s option, operate a Family Self-Sufficiency program on its own or in partnership with another owner. An owner, who voluntarily makes a Family Self-Sufficiency program available pursuant to this subsection, may access funding from any residual receipt accounts for the property to hire a family self-sufficiency coordinator or coordinators for their program.
Any cooperative agreement entered into pursuant to paragraph (1) shall require the public housing agency to open its Family Self-Sufficiency program waiting list to any eligible family residing in the owner’s property who resides in a unit assisted under project-based rental assistance.
A public housing agency that enters into a cooperative agreement pursuant to paragraph (1) may count any family participating in its Family Self-Sufficiency program as a result of such agreement as part of the calculation of the award under subsection (i).
A cooperative agreement entered into pursuant to paragraph (1) shall provide for the calculation and tracking of the escrow for participating residents and for the owner to make available, upon request of the public housing agency, escrow for participating residents, in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (e), residing in units assisted under section 1437f of this title.
The owner of a privately owned property who voluntarily makes a Family Self-Sufficiency program available pursuant to paragraph (1) shall calculate and track the escrow for participating residents and make escrow for participating residents available in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (e).
This subsection shall not apply to properties assisted under section 1437f(o)(13) of this title.
The Secretary shall submit to the Congress annually, as a part of the report of the Secretary under section 3536 of this title, a report summarizing the information submitted by public housing agencies under paragraph (1) and describing any additional research needs of the Secretary to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The report under this paragraph shall also include any recommendations of the Secretary for improving the effectiveness of the self-sufficiency program under this section.
The term “eligible entity” means an entity that meets the requirements under subsection (c)(2) to administer a Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section.
The term “eligible family” means a family that meets the requirements under subsection (c)(1) to participate in the Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section.
The term “participating family” means an eligible family that is participating in the Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section.