What is the Community Service & Self Sufficiency Program (CSSSP)?
The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) of 1998 requires that all public housing residents who are 18 years of age and older and are not exempt (see section Who Is Exempt?) to perform eight (8) hours of community service and/or self sufficiency activities a month or ninety-six (96) hours in a 12 month-period.
The CSSSP requirement is intended to assist in the improvement of resident economic and social well being and give residents a greater stake in their communities.
Who is Exempt?
The following residents are exempt from the Program:
Sixty-two (62) years or older
Disabled (as defined by the Social Security Act) or a primary caretaker of a disabled individual
Employed (a minimum of 20 hours per week)
Participating in an economic self-sufficiency program (e.g. ACHIEVE Program)
Participating in a state welfare to work program (e.g. Work First)
What is Community Service?
Community Service is defined as the performance of voluntary work or duties that are a public benefit that serve to improve the quality of life of the community.
Examples of Community Service include but are not limited to the following:
Volunteer at local institution such as a school, childcare center, hospital, hospice, recreation center, senior center, homeless shelter, etc.
Volunteer at a local organization such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, Family Resource Center, PTA Thrift shop, Housing Advisory Board, etc.
Serve on the board or committees of local agencies and organizations (e.g. Residents’ Council, Housing Advisory Board, Family Resource Centers, etc.)
Working through a resident organization to assist with its programs and events
Working through the Housing Department on special programs and projects
Caring for the children of other residents so they may volunteer
Note: Political activity is excluded.
What are Self Sufficiency Activities?
Self Sufficiency activities can be described as those activities that encourage, assist, train, or facilitate economic independence. In other words, activities that develop, improve, or enhance an individual’s skills and abilities.
Examples of Self Sufficiency Activities include but are not limited to the following:
Job readiness or training programs (e.g. Job Link, WIA, etc.)
GED classes (e.g. Durham Tech and Literacy Council)
Substance abuse or mental health counseling (e.g. OPC, Horizons, etc.)
Budgeting and credit counseling (e.g. Women’s Center)
Any kind of class that supports a person’s efforts toward economic independence (e.g. computer, CNA, college courses, starting own business, etc.)
Educational programs workshops, or trainings (e.g. offered at Family Resource Centers, Job Link, etc.)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is the Community Service Self Sufficiency Program a local requirement? No. This is federal requirement and applies to all public housing residents across the country.
How many hours of community service or self-sufficiency do I have to do? Each month you need to complete 8 hours and 96 hours over a 12-month period. The 12-month period will be based on your recertification year, which is based on where you live.
What happens if I don’t complete the number of hours required? If you don’t complete the number of required hours, it is considered a lease violation and may result in your not being able to renew your lease.
What if I believe that I am exempt? If you think you are exempt based on the list of exemptions, you will be required to provide documentation to verify your exemption status.
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