Abt Associates recently published a brief on the impacts of a financial capability-based Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. Abt used HUD administrative data to conduct a quasi-experimental analysis of the impacts of FSS on participants in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) FSS programs administered by Compass in partnership with Cambridge Housing Authority, Metro Housing (Boston), and Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development. The study found that HCV households participating in one of the Compass FSS programs had a higher annual earned income and a lower level of annual public assistance receipt than their matched peers.
In addition to the traditional FSS program components, Compass’ implementation of FSS includes:
- A coaching model that emphasizes participant-driven interaction and goal setting
- A strong focus by coaches on helping clients build financial capability, pay down high-interest debt, build savings, and improve their budgeting and credit scores, complementing the asset building that occurs through the FSS escrow accounts
- Extensive marketing and outreach efforts to grow the program
- A public-private partnership model, supported by philanthropy in addition to funds from partner agencies and HUD