The District of Columbia Housing Authority celebrated the grand re-opening of its new one-stop shop for its Family Self-Sufficiency program with community, District, and federal partners. The Frederick Douglass Family Self-Sufficiency Center was recently renovated to house the multitude of services that help DCHA customers reach their individual goals in education, employment, and homeownership.
“Having these services and resources available to our customers and their neighbors in Southeast makes helping them help themselves much more convenient,” said DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett. “Building on our FSS programs’ success, the Frederick Douglass Family Self-Sufficiency Center will allow more D.C. residents to achieve their dreams.”
The center, located at 2000 Alabama Avenue, S.E., will house service coordinators who work directly with DCHA customers, as well as D.C. residents, to connect them to innovative strategies, programs, and services that already exist in the local community, such as credit counseling, financial literacy training, and homeownership preparation. Partner organizations also can use the space to host classes and trainings.
FSS participants sign a five-year contract that requires the head of the household to obtain employment and that no member of the household will receive certain types of public assistance at the end of the five-year term. These families have an interest-bearing savings account established for them. The amount credited to the family’s escrow account is based on increases in the family’s earned income during the term of the FSS contract. If the family successfully completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including debt reduction to improve credit scores, educational expenses, or a down payment on a home.
In addition to FSS programming, the center features community space, a full kitchen, and a computer lab.
Currently, more than 250 DCHA customers are enrolled in the FSS program. Nearly 60 DCHA customers have successfully purchased a home in the past 15 years.