What does the program entail?
Participants save for at least six months. During the savings period, participants agree to make a minimum monthly deposit into their IDA account, attend at least ten hours of financial education, receive credit counseling and at least eight hours of training designed with their dream in mind. For example, a person wishing to purchase a home must attend first-time homebuyer classes. A case manager will guide and encourage participants through the whole process.
Do I qualify?
Qualified applicants: An IDA case manager can best determine if you qualify for the program. Below are some general guidelines that can help you determine if you are eligible.
- You have earned income (Money from full or part-time employment, tips, self-employment, stipend or work-study. Unfortunately, disability, SSI, unemployment or other government assistance does not count as earned income)
- You have an adjusted gross household income at or below 200% of the poverty level. Use the 2016 Federal Poverty Level Chart below to see if your household income qualifies.
Where can I go to start an IDA?
View a list of the sites in the state of Ohio that provide IDAs through Assets Ohio at the Ohio CDC Association.
If you don't see a site for your area, contact any non-profit organization like your local community development corporation or community action agency and ask them to start an IDA program through the Ohio CDC Association. Just have them contact us if they want more information!
- What can I use my savings for?
IDA savings can be used for closing costs of a first time home purchase, starting or expanding a small business, or expenses for post secondary education.
- Can I use my savings for purchases other than my goal?
The money you save in your IDA is YOURS, but in order to receive the $2 match for every $1 you save, the money must remain in your account for at least six months and you MUST use it for a specified asset goal. If you choose to withdraw the money before you attain your asset, you forfeit the match money. Talk to the IDA program manager at your site for more information.
- My credit score is very low. Can I still participate?
Yes! Part of the required financial education with the IDA program is credit counseling and repair. A case manager will work with you to improve your credit score, making it a better number to ultimately achieve your dream of your asset.