Dear Tenants,

I am reaching out to introduce myself as the new Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Coordinator for Salem Housing Authority. I am excited to launch this new program with the support of the SHA federal program staff and look forward to hearing from those of you that may have an interest in enrolling in the program. I am enclosing an Information Sheet for you to review and encourage you to contact me with any questions you may have.

If you are interested in applying to the FSS program, applications are available on our website or can be picked up at the SHA offices. Please contact me if you would like to request an application to be emailed to you. Completed applications may be returned to the SHA Section 8 office at 136 Canal Street, Suite 2, Salem, MA 01970. Should the program require a waitlist for participation, the date/time the application is received will establish your position on the list.

The information you share on your application will help us to better assess how we may support you and your family through the development of a personalized service plan. Hope to connect with some of you soon!

Warm regards,

Teri Allen McDonough, LSW
Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Coordinator
(978) 744-4431 x119

A tenant’s decision on whether to apply or to remain an active participant in the FSS program does not affect housing status and in no way will result in loss of housing or voucher status.

What is FSS?

Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program FAQs

What are your dreams?

Financial stability, better job, advanced education, homeownership?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Earning higher wages to become independent from public assistance programs while meeting your family’s needs?

Are you ready, willing, and able to take steps toward your goals?

  • Explore this unique opportunity to invest in yourself and reflect on your personal and professional aspirations
  • Design your customized five-year plan with your one-on-one personal coaching partner
  • Gain access to community resources to support your success in the workforce and help to maintain a healthy work/life balance
  • Build up a savings account to save or spend as you see fit for your future

About the Program

The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a voluntary program that connects participants to education, job training, counseling and more to develop skills, reduce debt, increase earnings, and build savings. The savings (escrow) account grows with you as you expand your opportunities, allowing you to build wealth that is yours to keep or to spend!


Any Federal Public Housing tenant or Housing Choice (Section 8) voucher holder in good standing is eligible to apply. A tenant’s decision on whether to apply or to remain an active participant in the program does not affect housing status and in no way will result in loss of housing or voucher status.

The Process

If interested, please complete the FSS Application. Upon review of your application, you will be contacted by the FSS Coordinator to set up an appointment to continue the Needs Assessment and discuss any questions you may have. The FSS Coordinator may ask for updated household and income information at this time. If accepted into the program, the Head of Household must sign a five-year FSS Contract of Participation and design an Individualized Training and Service Plan (ITSP), with the FSS Coordinator, to document your goals and the strategies, activities, and resources to achieve them. ITSP Goals will continue to be reviewed with your FSS Coordinator at least every three months and can be modified as you grow new perspectives and advance in your career.


If you are not able to complete the program, there are no penalties. To graduate from the FSS program, the family must complete all of their goals in the ITSP (see above) and be off cash aid, such as TANF or General Assistance, twelve months prior to graduation. An extension of up to two-years may be granted to fulfill program requirements. Five years’ participation is not required. If you complete the program requirements, you may graduate and collect your escrow (savings) account funds.

You DO NOT need to leave housing or give up your voucher once you graduate!

What services are offered through the FSS program?

Individualized coaching and case management to help you overcome barriers to success. Referrals to childcare, job training and educational opportunities, financial literacy and debt management programs, transportation, utility assistance, and more. Attend supportive workshops for budgeting, parenting, healthy eating, first-time homebuyers, and more.

How does the escrow (savings) account work?

In addition to the services listed above, the Salem Housing Authority will set aside money in an escrow (savings) account for employed FSS participants who begin to pay a larger portion of their rent due to an increase in earned income. Successful graduates of the FSS program have used their escrow funds to purchase a car, eliminate debt, continue their education, purchase a home, and more.

EXAMPLE: When you joined the FSS program, your income was $20,000/year. After a year in the program, you start a new job that pays $24,000. Traditionally, your rent would increase proportionately to $600/month. As an FSS participant, when you pay your $600 monthly rent, $150 will be deposited into your escrow account to help build your savings. After one year of paying $600 rent (with $150 added to your account every month), you will have saved $1,800!