Economic Self-Sufficiency Program

2023 Economic Self-Sufficiency Graduates

Community Impact of The Economic Self-Sufficiency Program in 2022-2023:


  • 12 Graduates
  • $25,244 Average income starting the program
  • $54,322 Average income at Graduation

The goal of the Economic Self-Sufficiency Program is to empower low-income families with the education, skills and resources necessary to achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency without any future need for cash welfare subsidies.

You can get an individualized, strengths-based goal plan, based on a thorough personal assessment, backed up with coaching, counseling, and mentoring that can yield the fundamental change needed to leave poverty forever.

Our graduates have achieved the following:

  • Employment that pays a family-sustaining wage
  • Access to safe and reliable transportation
  • Affordable housing that is safe and comfortable
  • A balanced household budget
  • Health plan for the entire family
  • Freedom from all welfare subsidies including cash assistance, food stamps, and subsidized housing


How to Apply

Candidates for the Economic Self-Sufficiency Program must have an annual household income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guideline, which is $51,640 for a family of three.  Candidates for the program must also agree to:

    • Actively participate in a comprehensive self-assessment, and the development and active implementation of a goal plan
    • Meet with a Self-Sufficiency Coach on a weekly basis
    • Work full-time or attend a full-time education program
    • Submit on a regular basis relevant documentation including pay stubs, all monthly bills, income tax information, car insurance, and car registration

The Economic Self-Sufficiency Program is not an entitlement program. It is intended for hard-working, motivated people seeking an opportunity to permanently leave poverty. Candidates most likely to succeed in the program quickly answer “yes” when asked “Are you working or are you willing to begin working tomorrow?”

Apply for the Program

Complete the application online or contact one of our local offices:

Quakertown ~ 215-536-0353
Doylestown ~  267-733-0529
Warminster  ~ 267-905-8056
Bristol ~ 215-781-2661

Coaches On Campus

Are you a student at Bucks County Community College?

Do you need support to stay enrolled in classes and work towards your degree?

Come visit Coaches on Campus to get the financial and coaching support you need!

Success Stories





How the Program Works

Each participant completes a comprehensive assessment and develops a strengths-based goal plan in partnership with a Self-Sufficiency Coach.

Every plan centers on attaining the education and training necessary to secure employment in a high-demand sector that pays a family-sustaining wage. Participants work with a Self-Sufficiency Coach for up to five years to implement, regularly evaluate and revise the plan as necessary. In addition to education and employment, every plan addresses childcare, health insurance, transportation, education, budgeting, financial literacy including banking and credit, reciprocity and establishing healthy successful relationships within the community in addition to Bucks County Opportunity Council staff.

Perhaps most importantly, private funding is strategically invested in education and other areas of need, identified in each participant’s customized goal plan to achieve permanent self-sufficiency. Sixty percent or more of the financial assistance invested in helping participants succeed comes from private sources.

History of the Program

In the mid-1990s, the Board of Directors initiated a comprehensive study of the long-term, measurable impact of our programs. The results showed that many of the individuals and families we assisted temporarily improved their circumstances but did not permanently leave poverty. They frequently came back for help as soon as they were eligible.

In response to the findings, we developed the Economic Self-Sufficiency Program in 1997. Our approach addresses the root causes that keep low-income people in poverty. We help participants acquire the education, skills and employment to permanently leave poverty as opposed to merely cope in it. The program transforms lives and often ends a cycle of poverty that existed for generations.

The Economic Self-Sufficiency Program is not an entitlement program. A combination of public funding and private contributions from results-minded donors drive its success.

Success of the Program

To date, 385 families who were on or eligible for welfare have graduated from the program since it was established in 1997, and 79 graduates are homeowners. Every graduate has employment that pays a family-sustaining wage, a balanced budget, reliable transportation, affordable housing, a health plan for the entire family, acceptable credit or an approved credit repair plan, and basic employability skills.

Graduates no longer rely on cash welfare subsidies including subsidized housing, food stamps or cash assistance to make ends meet.