Participants' Income Grows through HUD Family Self-Sufficiency Program

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Resulting Reductions in Government Benefits Offset Program Costs, According to Abt Associates Report

Participants in two HUD-funded Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) programs gained more than $10,000 in increased income over a five-year period as a result of participation in the program, at a net cost to the government of only $276 per participant. These are some of the key findings of a new cost-benefit study by Abt Associates. The $10,000 figure accounts for reductions to participants’ federal benefits, such as federal welfare benefits, as their earnings improved. These reductions--along with other cost savings--offset 97 percent of the cost of administering the programs.

The FSS programs are provided by the Boston-based nonprofit Compass Working Capital, in partnership with local housing authorities in Lynn and Cambridge, Massachusetts. FSS programs help recipients of federal rental assistance work toward economic security. Compass FSS participants receive an escrow account that increases in value as participants’ earnings and rent contributions increase. Additionally, Compass FSS offers coaching to help participants build their own financial capabilities and pursue their employment and financial goals.

“Our study found that the benefits of the program greatly outweighed its costs during the initial five-year study period,” said Jeffrey Lubell, Abt’s director of housing and community initiatives. “As participants leave the program, and the costs of administration drop to zero, we expect the government to realize significant savings.”

These findings build on an earlier Abt report that found Compass FSS produced strong gains in annual household earnings, as well as improvements in credit scores and reductions in credit card and derogatory debt.

Read the full report at:

About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security. Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ grounded insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development.

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Amy Dunaway
Abt Associates
+1 301-347-5056
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