Havre de Grace Housing Authority

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

Family Self-Sufficiency Program logo

Getting out of debt.

Earning a degree or certification.

Landing a job that pays more than minimum wage.

Buying your own car—or even home.

HDGHA’s innovative Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) makes these milestones and more come true every day.

We have helped dozens of families achieve all this and more through this free, voluntary service that helps our residents gain true economic independence.

What is FSS?

Looking to understand what the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is and how it works? This video explains more.

Apply for FSS Program

How It Works

Participants work with a case manager to assess their strengths, identify barriers, set goals and achieve them.

Through the FSS program, clients can develop job skills and gain the training needed to achieve economic independence. Other services provided on an individual and as-needed basis include education, employment opportunities, child care, transportation, budgeting, credit and more.

As the family increases their income during the program, the 30% of their income they pay for rent increases, decreasing the amount the government must pay. HDGHA puts a portion of that increase into an Escrow savings account each month, and upon graduation from the program the family receives the money, which has also earned interest. Clients have received anywhere from several hundred to $64,000.

A family working towards homeownership receives education and step-by-step guidance on the process of purchasing a home, including credit, employment and savings to get them mortgage ready.

Families may participate in the FSS program for up to five years. (In some cases, FSS may extend the contract for two more years.)

Families graduate when they have not received welfare cash assistance for 12 consecutive months and have met all their FSS goals.


In 2014 alone our participants had numerous accomplishments including:

  • 13 completed post secondary classes
  • 2 enrolled in GED classes and 2 obtained GEDs
  • 14 enrolled in college
  • 1 eliminated cash welfare assistance and 1 reduced cash welfare assistance
  • 18 found new employment and 5 increased employment from part- to full-time
  • 33 maintained employment for more than one year
  • 26 increased or maintained involvement in the community
  • 4 established credit
  • 17 received personal financial literacy/management counseling
  • 18 received classroom financial literacy/management counseling
  • 15 received pre-purchase homeownership education/counseling
  • 17 completed job retention employment activities
  • 19 enrolled in job preparation counseling
  • 15 obtained employment above minimum wage
  • 16 increased their household earned income
  • 1 received certification from post secondary school
  • 3 received a private industry certification
  • 3 completed vocational training
  • 3 obtained employer-provided health benefits
  • 4 received a promotion at work resulting in an increased hourly wage