The Most Northeastern City in the United States.

Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program

Caribou Municipal Building
25 High St
Caribou, Maine 04736
Phone: (207) 493-4234
Fax: (207) 376-0178



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Building a Solid Future for Your Family

The FSS program is designed to help families in the Housing Choice Voucher program become more self-sufficient.

Here’s how it works:

  • You sign a Contract of  Participation that outlines your goals and your plan to reach those goals.
  • As your family’s earned income (wages and other income from work) increases, we put money aside in an account for you. The amount we put aside is based on your increase in earned income and other factors.
  • When you reach your goal, we send you all the money in your account. You must complete your goal within five years to get the money. 
  • There is no other penalty to you if you don’t reach your goal. In fact, you have nothing to lose by joining the FSS program.


There are two goals that all families must meet in order to participate:

  1. Everyone in the household must be off welfare assistance for one year before the Contract of Participation is complete. 
  2. The participants must seek and maintain suitable employment.

The rest of the goals are up to you.

Examples of goals that families set for themselves include:

  • Completing a GED or getting a college degree. 
  • Completing a job training or welfare-to-work program. 
  •  Getting a new job or a better job. 
  • Getting a raise or promotion at the job you already have. 
  • Learning about homeownership and buying a home. 
  • Starting a small business.


In order to enroll in the program, you must sign a Contract of Participation.

Once a year, we will send you a form and ask you to update us on the progress you are making toward your goals.

Also, you may request permission to make changes to your Contract goals.

Before you can receive the funds in your account, you must provide verification that you met your goals. This may include proof of income, proof that no one in the family receives welfare, and proof that you’ve met other goals like getting a college degree.

You must notify us when you reach your goal. There will be no additional funds deposited into your account after you reach your goal. The sooner you notify us, the sooner you can receive the money.  You will “graduate” and get your money  automatically if your family’s monthly income reaches a certain upper limit.  


The FSS Coordinator works with participants to identify and secure resources that will help increase self-sufficiency. This includes supportive counseling, information and referrals and goal planning, which will help participants gain skills and lifelong learning that continue beyond participation in the FSS program.


The FSS program partners with other service providers to connect participants with employment and training agencies, community colleges, technical schools, childcare providers, financial institutions, health and human service agencies, transportation, etc. 


An interest-bearing FSS escrow account is established by the Housing Authority for each participating family.  This escrow credit is based on increases in the family’s earned income which is credited to this account by Caribou Housing Authority after execution of the FSS contract.  The escrow account is available to the family during the term of the contract to enable the family to complete an agreed upon interim goal such as education.


If the family completes the contract with no member of the family is receiving welfare cash assistance and has been continually employed for at least one year, the balance of the FSS escrow account will be paid to the head of the family.  If the Caribou Housing Authority terminates the FSS contract, or if the family fails to complete the contract before its expiration, the family’s FSS escrow funds are forfeited.

There are no restrictions or requirements regarding what you do with the money.


You don’t have to give up your Section 8 assistance after you complete the FSS Contract.

Although it is hoped that families will no longer need housing assistance upon completion of the FSS program, some families that complete the program will still need assistance for housing.  


The Housing Authority has an unlimited number of slots for FSS families. If you think you may be interested in enrolling, we
encourage you to call now!  

Remember, you have nothing to lose by joining the FSS program! If you plan to increase your earned income, this program can help you build a savings account for your future.


  • Contact Sue Ouellette, FSS/Homeownership Coordinator 
  • Family Self-Sufficiency Action Plan