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Assets For Independence

Overview                             

Assets for Independence (AFI) is a discretionary federal grant under the Office of Community Services.  It enables community-based nonprofits and government agencies to implement and demonstrate an assets-based approach for giving low-income families a hand up out of poverty. 

AFI projects help participants save earned income in special-purpose, matched savings accounts called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs).  Every dollar in savings deposited into an IDA by participants is matched by the AFI project.

Additionally, all AFI projects provide basic financial management training and supportive services.

IDAs

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matched savings accounts designed to help low-income and low-wealth families accumulate savings for high return investments on long-term assets, such as purchasing a first home.

Target Population             

Individuals whose household assets do not exceed $10,000 in value (excluding a residence and one car)

Legislative Authority        

Authorized under the Assets for Independence Act in title IV of the Community Opportunities, Accountability, and Training and Educational Services Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998, P.L. 105-285.  It was amended in December 2000.

Additional Information      http://www.acf.hhs.gov/assetbuilding

Status to Date

(August 2011) - The Assets for Independence Initiative (AFI) is in full swing, having closed on six loans to date with first-time homebuyers needing assistance with the closing costs & down payment of purchasing their homes.  An additional 4-5 families are projected to close on their homes in the next 60-90 days, all of whom are completing the necessary finance and home budget training by this program. All AFI participants are clients that have been qualified by United Way partner agencies that provide transitional housing services for low-income and recently employed residents.