Family Self-Sufficiency Program

At the Lowell Housing Authority, we believe that everyone deserves a chance for self-sufficiency.   The Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) is designed to help families receiving rental assistance to become self-supporting. This program is voluntary and open to all families receiving Section 8 assistance through the Lowell Housing Authority. The only requirements are a desire to become self-sufficient and a willingness to take the steps to make this happen. The FSS Program provides support and assistance to the entire family and often includes:

  • Case Management
  • Resume development
  • Financial literacy education
  • Higher Education
  • Health, nutrition, and preventative medical care
  • Childcare
  • Home ownership opportunities

Referrals are frequently made to the Career Center of Lowell, The Wish Project, Community Teamwork, Inc., Middlesex Community College and Umass Lowell to assist in meeting the needs, and educational and employment goals of our participants.

You set the goals. We’ll provide you with the resources, support services, and framework to reach them.


The head of household enters into a contract with the LHA. This contract contains a service plan that identifies the employment goals of the participant and outlines the activities and services necessary to achieve those goals. The FSS Director helps the family obtain the services listed in the plan. The LHA establishes a savings account when the family increases its earned income.

How Do I Complete the Program?
To complete the program, you must be working and all family members must be off public assistance for at least the last 12 months of the contract. To find out more about the FSS Program contact Family Self-Sufficiency
State Escrow Plan
State Escrow Plan – Any employed resident living in a state aided apartment has the opportunity to save $10,000.00. The appeal of this plan is that you do not have to contribute to the savings program and money will be saved for you by the agency.

Here’s How It Works:

Your household pays your regular monthly rent. A portion of the rent derived from earned wages is placed into a special escrow account. Each $2.00 of your rent money placed into this account is matched by $1.00 from the Department of Housing and Community Development. The total maximum amount allowed to be saved in this escrow account is $10,000.00 these funds can only be used to move from a subsidized unit to a private unit or home ownership

Income Disallowance Plan
The Income Disallowance Plan is a plan is offered to residents who have gone from welfare to work, residents who have had an increase in income, and residents who are involved in a job training program. The first twelve month period that you have an increase in earned income, 100% of the increase will be disallowed. The next six months your rent will only increase by 50% of the initial increase. This plan enables residents to save money.
Ceiling Rent Plan
The Ceiling Rent Plan – This plan provides residents the opportunity to save a considerable amount of money. Under this plan your rent is based on bedroom size.
Home Ownership
One of the features available under the Housing Choice Voucher Program is the Section 8 Homeownership Program. This program provides an opportunity for current Section 8 participants to purchase their own home utilizing the Section 8 Housing Assistance as payment toward their Mortgage.

A number of the Lowell Housing Authority Section 8 participants have utilized this program and are currently residing in their own home while receiving assistance for homeownership expenses.

Am I Eligible for the Home Ownership Program?

Interested participants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be a current Section 8 Voucher Holder.
  2. Must be a first time homebuyer as defined by HUD.
  3. Must qualify for a loan from a bank or a lending institution
  4. Must attend a HUD approved homebuyer training course provided through the Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership.
  5. Must purchase a single family house located in Lowell.
  6. Must be owner occupied.


The LHA has helps many people annually make their dreams a reality.  Learn more about how the LHA can help you?

Contact Michelle Dinan, Director of Family Self-Sufficiency, 978-364-5368

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