The Family Self-Sufficiency Program

At a time when policymakers are increasingly looking around for inexpensive ways to encourage savings, there is one promising program that is already on the books. The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is largely responsible for helping thousands of lower-income families make a successful transition from welfare assistance to independence. Despite its relatively small size, FSS is one of the largest asset building programs available to assist the working poor and has made an important contribution to the country’s asset-building efforts. Its success to date is worth building upon. Several crucial and low-cost reforms would significantly expand the program’s impact.

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Reid Cramer is director of the Millennials Initiative at New America. Previously, he served as the Asset Building program's research director and as a co-director of New America's Next Social Contract Initiative.