42 U.S.C. § 1437u - Family Self-Sufficiency program

Cite as42 U.S.C. § 1437u

(a) Purpose

The purpose of the Family Self-Sufficiency program established under this section is to promote the development of local strategies to coordinate use of public housing and assistance under the certificate and voucher programs under section 1437f of this title with public and private resources, to enable eligible families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency.

(b) Establishment of program

(1) Required programs

Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary shall carry out a program under which each public housing agency that administers assistance under subsection (b) or (o) of section 1437f of this title or makes available new public housing dwelling units-

(A) may, during fiscal years 1991 and 1992, carry out a local Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section;

(B) effective on October 1, 1992, the Secretary shall require each such agency to carry out a local Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section, subject to the limitations in paragraph (4); and

(C) effective on October 21, 1998, to the extent an agency is not required to carry out a program pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this paragraph and paragraph (4), may carry out a local Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section.

Each local program shall, subject to availability of supportive services, include an action plan under subsection (g) and shall provide comprehensive supportive services for families electing to participate in the program. In carrying out the self-sufficiency program under this section, the Secretary shall consult with the heads of other appropriate Federal agencies and provide for cooperative actions and funding agreements with such agencies. Each public housing agency administering an approved local program may employ a service coordinator to administer the local program.

(2) Exception

The Secretary shall not require a public housing agency to carry out a local program under subsection (a) if the public housing agency provides certification (as such term is defined under title I of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act [ 42 U.S.C. 12701 et seq.]) to the Secretary, that the establishment and operation of the program is not feasible because of local circumstances, which may include-

(A) lack of supportive services accessible to eligible families, which shall include insufficient availability of resources for programs under title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act [ 29 U.S.C. 3111 et seq.] or the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program under part F 1 of title IV of the Social Security Act;

(B) lack of funding for reasonable administrative costs;

(C) lack of cooperation by other units of State or local government; or

(D) any other circumstances that the Secretary may consider appropriate.

In allocating assistance available for reservation under this chapter, the Secretary may not refuse to provide assistance or decrease the amount of assistance that would otherwise be provided to any public housing agency because the agency has provided a certification under this paragraph or because, pursuant to a certification, the agency has failed to carry out a self-sufficiency program.

(3) Scope

Subject to paragraph (4), each public housing agency required to carry out a local program under this section shall make the following housing assistance available under the program in each fiscal year:

(A) Certificate and voucher assistance under section 1437f(b) and (o) of this title, in an amount equivalent to the increase for such year in the number of families so assisted by the agency (as compared to the preceding year).

(B) Public housing dwelling units, in the number equal to the increase for such year in units made available by the agency (as compared to the preceding year).

Each such public housing agency shall continue to operate a local program for the number of families determined under this paragraph subject only to the availability under appropriations Acts of sufficient amounts for assistance.

(4) Termination of requirement to expand program

(A) In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a public housing agency that receives incremental assistance under subsection (b) or (o) of section 1437f of this title or that makes available new public housing dwelling units shall not be required, after October 21, 1998, to provide assistance under a local Family Self-Sufficiency program under this section to any families not required to be assisted under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.

(B) Continuation of existing obligations

(i) In general

Each public housing agency that, before October 21, 1998, was required under this section to carry out a local Family Self-Sufficiency program shall continue to operate such local program for the number of families determined under paragraph (3), subject only to the availability under appropriations Acts of sufficient amounts for housing assistance.

(ii) Reduction

The number of families for which an agency is required under clause (i) to operate such local program shall be decreased by one for each family that, after October 21, 1998, fulfills its obligations under the contract of participation.

(5) Nonparticipation

Assistance under the certificate or voucher programs under section 1437f of this title for a family that elects not to participate in a local program shall not be delayed by reason of such election.

(c) Contract of participation

(1) In general

Each public housing agency carrying out a local program under this section shall enter into a contract with each leaseholder receiving assistance under the certificate and voucher programs of the public housing agency under section 1437f of this title or residing in public housing administered by the agency, 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. The contract shall provide that the public housing agency may terminate or withhold assistance under section 1437f of this title and services under paragraph (2) of this subsection if the public housing agency determines, through an administrative grievance procedure in accordance with the requirements of section 1437d(k) of this title, that the family has failed to comply with the requirements of the contract without good cause (which may include a loss or reduction in access to supportive services, or a change in circumstances that makes the family or individual unsuitable for participation).

(2) Supportive services

A local program under this section shall provide appropriate supportive services under this paragraph to each participating family entering into a contract of participation under paragraph (1). The supportive services shall be provided during the period the family is receiving assistance under section 1437f of this title or residing in public housing, and may include-

(A) child care;

(B) transportation necessary to receive services;

(C) remedial education;

(D) education for completion of high school;

(E) job training and preparation;

(F) substance abuse treatment and counseling;

(G) training in homemaking and parenting skills;

(H) training in money management;

(I) training in household management; and

(J) any other services and resources appropriate to assist eligible families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency.

(3) Term and extension

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 entering into the contract. The public housing agency shall extend the term of the contract for any family that requests an extension, upon a finding of the agency of good cause.

(4) Employment and counseling

The contract of participation shall require the head of the participating family to seek suitable employment during the term of the contract. The public housing agency may, during such period, provide counseling for the family with respect to affordable rental and homeownership opportunities in the private housing market and money management counseling.

(d) Incentives for participation

(1) Maximum rents

During the term of the contract of participation, the amount of rent paid by any participating family whose monthly adjusted income does not exceed 50 percent of the area median income for occupancy in the public housing unit or dwelling unit assisted under section 1437f of this title may not be increased on the basis of any increase in the earned income of the family, unless the increase results in an income exceeding 50 percent of the area median income. The Secretary shall provide for increased rents for participating families whose incomes are between 50 and 80 percent of the area median income, so that any family whose income increases to 80 percent or more of the area median income pays 30 percent of the family's monthly adjusted income for rent. Upon completion of the contract of participation, if the participating family continues to qualify for and reside in a dwelling unit in public housing or housing assisted under section 1437f of this title, the rent charged the participating family shall be increased (if applicable) to 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income of the family.

(2) Escrow savings accounts

For each participating family whose monthly adjusted income is less than 50 percent of the area median income, the difference between 30 percent of the adjusted income of the participating family and the amount of rent paid by a participating family shall be placed in an interest-bearing escrow account established by the public housing agency on behalf of the participating family. For families with incomes between 50 and 80 percent of the area median income, the Secretary shall provide for escrow of the difference between 30 percent of the family income and the amount paid by the family for rent as determined by the Secretary under paragraph (1). 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 (c), 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. A public housing agency 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 the public housing agency.

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