Special Programs

The Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) is a voluntary program designed to assist those families receiving HUD Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance to improve their economic situation and reduce their dependence on public assistance and welfare.

FSS is for individuals who are unemployed, underemployed or are already employed and wanting to increase their income, and who are willing to commit to changing their lives for the better.The FSS Program is designed to work with partnering agencies to offer educational opportunities and job training as well as other supportive services needed to assist participants in relying less on government assistance. Eligible families are connected with the appropriate support services and resources in their respective communities, which help to guide the families toward economic self-sufficiency.

Each FSS participant creates a five-year plan that includes either employment or business development goals and then identifies their specific training or education needs. The HACLB FSS staff will work with the household to identify, locate and arrange for the services they need to accomplish these goals.

FSS Frequently Asked Questions

The Housing Authority also operates a Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Option Program that provides an opportunity for families that currently hold a Housing Choice Voucher to purchase a home. The Homeownership Program is designed to promote and support homeownership for a 'first-time' homeowner, a family that moves for the first time from rental housing to a family-owned home. Voucher payments supplement the family's own income to help transition from renting to homeownership. Except for elderly or disabled families, homeownership assistance may only be paid for a maximum period of 15 years if the initial mortgage to finance purchase of the home has a term that is 20 years or longer. In all other cases the maximum term of homeownership assistance is 10 years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Option Program?

  • The homeownership program provides an option to eligible families currently holding a voucher to purchase a home and apply for the subsidy towards their house payments

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Who is eligible?

  • Be a first time homeowner or have no ownership interest in a residence now or for the past three years.
  • One or more adult members who will own the home are employed continuously full-time for at least one year.
  • Disabled or elderly families.

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How to get started

  • Complete a basic financial education program, either the approved FDIC Money Smart Curriculum or other financial literacy training programs from an approved organization.
  • Complete the First Time Homebuyers Education Program from a HUD approved Counseling Agency.
  • Complete the Homeownership Option Eligibility Assessment Form
  • Obtain a credit report
  • Shop for a mortgage (participant has 180 days to complete the process).
  • You Must be able to qualify for a mortgage loan.
  • You Must be in compliance with the terms of their voucher lease term agreement and had rental assistance for more than a year.

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Where and what kind of home can be purchased?

  • The homeownership program is currently limited to access within the City of Long Beach. Portability is permitted to another jurisdiction, provided the receiving jurisdiction operates a homeownership program. New or existing single-family homes, condominium, cooperatives, lofts, live/work units or manufactured homes may be purchased.
  • How much assistance will the participant receive towards their mortgage? The homeownership vouchers are administered at a rate called the payment standard and it includes an amount to assist with utility payments and maintenance and repair expenses. The rate is based on the family size and required number of bedrooms. The family pays 30% of their adjusted gross income and HACLB subsidizes the balance of the payment standard or the mortgage amount whichever is less. Subsidy payments can be made to the family at the discretion of the lender.

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How long can a participant receive assistance under this program?

  • Assistance is unlimited for disabled families and elderly families that are determined elderly when the home is purchased. The maximum term limit for all other families is 15 years if the initial mortgage term is 20 or more years. Assistance will be terminated for failure to comply with program requirements or exceeding the income guidelines.

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What are the steps that should be taken once a participant locates a home to buy?

  • Prior to closing two kinds of physical inspections are required (in addition to, and separate from any lender-required inspections) and Housing Quality Standard (HQS) inspection by the HACLB, and an independent professional home inspection by an inspector used in the private market by homebuyers.

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What should the lender and realtor know about this program?

  • For the family to qualify for a loan at least 3% of the home's sale price as down payment with 1% coming from the family's personal resources. Financing must be insured or guaranteed by state or Federal government and comply with secondary mortgage market underwriting requirements. Only fixed-rate mortgages of at least 15 years with interest rates no greater than one percent above the local average for FHA, VA or conventional can be used. Loans with balloons payments, pre-payments, pre-payment penalties, adjustable rate mortgages, more than two discount points, fee amounts found to be excessive for tax service, loan process and underwriting will not be approved. Affordable or forgivable seconds are permitted.
  • Allowable expenses are principal and interest on mortgage debt, mortgage insurance, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance, homeowner association dues and HACLB allowance for utilities. Upon receipt of the estimated contract of sale HACLB will provide you with an estimated subsidy amount and this tax exempt Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) may be added to income and grossed up to add to stable income. The resulting housing expense-to-income ration is then calculated using the 'net housing obligation' of the borrower. HACLB reserves the final right of approval and requires copies of all executed documents and the independent inspection report.

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NOTE: HACLB reserves the final right of approval to ensure that the family is not subject to predatory loan terms.