Jan 04, 2011
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The Assets for Independence Program was established in early 2000 to help people save money for their own future use in education, buying a home, starting a business, or buying a car. In this program every dollar that the individual saved in a bank account was matched by the government. For example, if I saved $5 a week, the government would match my savings and give me $5 for each $5 that I save. The program provides people who save their money with a dollar for dollar savings match. To date over 85,000 people have opened IDA accounts and saved for their futures through the Assets for Independence Program.

The program is only open to people with incomes in the lower ranges and the participants can only use their matched savings for education, buying a house, starting a business, or buying a car.

Not every bank is a member of this program because while your money is kept in a savings account at the bank, the program is actually operated out a non-profit that serves the community either by providing food, clothing, education, or other support to people who have incomes in the lower range. Some disability service organizations have these savings programs and thousands of people with disabilities have saved the money for a down payment on a house or to open a business through their participation in the IDA accounts.

In order to participate in the savings program you will need to find a program in your town that has an IDA (or Individual Development Account) program up and running. Some local YMCAs have the IDA program; as do some community service organizations, like Independent Living Centers.

You can find the nearest program site to your home by going to this website

As you will see on the map from the Center for Community Capitalism (at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill), below, not every state has an IDA program, while other states have many IDA programs. The website has an updated list for you to search.

Author: Tanya