Shawnetta Yahtin is the sole income earner in a large family and is still paying back graduate school student loans. This made her dream of buying a home for her family, including her partner, two sons, daughter, and granddaughter seem like a long-term dream rather than a current possibility. She heard about WSCAT’s IDA program from a coworker, though, and thought that “getting an IDA might help make home ownership more attainable in a shorter time span.” When she applied for the program, WSCAT staff determined that she was eligible for WSCAT’s SuperSaver IDA, funded through the Oregon IDA Initiative. Shawnetta opened her IDA account in June 2015. The SuperSaver IDA, unlike most WSCAT IDAs that have a minimum savings period of six months, has a minimum savings period of 13 months.
To prepare herself for home ownership and to meet WSCAT and Oregon IDA program educational requirements, Shawnetta completed Pathways Home: A Native Homeownership course, provided by WSCAT and Tribal Credit Enterprise staff members, and took the Money Smart financial skills course on DVD. She also met with a Tribal Credit Enterprise loan officer to “develop a plan to pay off debt and pre-qualify for a home loan.” By October 2015, within months of signing up for an IDA, Shawnetta had already met her savings goal, had already met all program educational requirements, and had done much to prequalify for her loan.
Shawnetta is enthusiastic and excited about the process: “Everything is on track,” she said. “I’m planning to build, rather than buy an existing home, and I’m looking for a contractor who can build a place that’s the right size and structure with the right green qualities.” “I think that this will be great for my family and me. I’m grateful for the IDA program because it’s giving me the opportunity to save, earn matching funds, and achieve my goals much faster than I could have expected.”