The goal of WSCAT’s Individual Development Account (IDA) Program is to assist lower income people on the Warm Springs Reservation in moving towards greater self-sufficiency by:
- Accumulating savings;
- Purchasing long-term assets; and
- Managing their finances wisely.
IDAs, or individual development accounts, are matched savings accounts that enable people to accumulate savings and purchase assets. Program participants are responsible for depositing earned income into savings accounts, for which they receive matched savings contributions. For each dollar participants deposit in their IDA, they receive $5 in matching funds to be used towards the purchase of an asset.
To participate in WSCAT’s IDA program, a person must:
- Be at least 14 years of age.
- Be employed or have earned income, unless he/she is a minor. If the participant is a minor, his/her parent must be able to show earned income.
- Reside on or near (within a 15-mile radius of) the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
- Be able to attend and complete WSCAT’s financial education courses.
Participants must meet annual Income Guidelines as published by the Assets for Independence Initiative (AFI) or Oregon IDA Initiative, whichever is pertinent to the participant’s savings plan, and have a household net worth of less than $10,000 if receiving federal matching funds, or less than $20,000 if receiving state matching funds. Please contact the WSCAT office, at 541-553-3148 to discuss your eligibility for the program.
How the IDA program works
Our IDA program enables you to save your own money in a bank account and have that money matched with dollars from state, federal, and private funders. With the money you save and the matching dollars, you must purchase an asset. Qualifying assets include home purchase or repair, business startup or expansion, education (either college or vocational), home renovation, technology for people with disabilities, or motor vehicles (to enable you to get to work or school). Because WSCAT works with a wide range of generous donors, we are able to provide Warm Springs community members with matching funds at a 5:1 rate. This means that if you save $1,000, you will receive $5,000 in matching funds toward the purchase of an asset! Depending on the type of asset you are saving for, there is a minimum savings period of 6 to 13 months.
In the coming years, the IDA program may allow community members to save for new types of asset purchases, including retirement savings accounts, hiring employees for small business, credit repair to enable savings, credit building via “paired accounts,” and replacement of an unhealthy or unsafe primary residence.
IDA clients must do more than be accepted into the program and save their own money to receive the IDA matching funds. All clients must complete financial empowerment training and asset-specific education to help them make the most of their savings. The financial empowerment training course taught by WSCAT is called Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families course, and it is described in the Personal Finance section of our website. Asset-specific educational offerings are also highlighted in the Indianpreneurship and Homeownership sections.
From 2009, when the program began, until September 30, 2017, 232 Warm Springs community members opened IDA accounts, and 82 made asset purchases using their IDA savings. Twenty-four program participants bought assets for their small businesses, 18 paid for college or vocational education, 20 purchased vehicles, 11 made downpayments on a house, and 8 renovated their homes. In the coming years, we hope that hundreds more Warm Springs community members will take advantage of the IDA program. Please don’t let this opportunity slip by you; join others on the path to financial success!
If you are scheduled for an IDA intake please bring in the following that apply to you:
- Photo ID: Tribal ID, State Issued ID, or a Passport
- Proof of your SSN or ITN card, Tribal ID card, ODL
- Most recent years tax return
- 2 months of paystubs
- If you receive per capita, food stamps, housing assistance, unemployment, pension or a similar payment, please contact the issuing agency for a statement or award letter
- Verification of net worth, including housing appraisal, Kelly blue book vehicle appraisal, all loans (including: Mortgage, Tribal Credit, Student, Credit card, or other Debt)