New Opportunities For A New Year

By: Don Lambert

For many of us, the New Year brings hope of making progress in an important, often neglected, part of our lives. This year millions of Americans have resolved to get in shape, become more active in their community, enrich their lives through education, or save so that they can finally buy their own home. Meeting these goals can sometimes be difficult, especially for persons on a limited income. For families with only one source of income, fulfilling this dream often requires a major sacrifice of precious time and money. Luckily, government programs are available to help area families achieve a number of these important goals.

Elkhart Housing Partnership’s Individual Development Account (IDA) Program is designed to provide financial assistance to low-income, legal residents of Indiana with the specific goals of buying a house, starting a small business, or career and vocational training. For every $1 that a qualified applicant invests in a specially designated IDA savings account, the Indiana Department of Commerce will match the investment with $3 of state money. For example, a person who deposits the maximum amount of $300 of his or her own savings into an IDA will receive a state match of $900. Clients can receive these benefits for up to 4 years in a row. So, for example, with an annual combined balance of $1,200, beneficiaries may elect to pay for books and tuition fees in each of the first two years, and then save towards purchasing either a home or business in years three and four.

For 2003, the Department of Commerce awarded Elkhart Housing Partnership a number of accounts that will receive double the match on savings. So instead of receiving $900, many recipients will receive a $1,800 match on their $300 IDA savings investment. With such a generous incentive, now is the perfect time for individuals interested in education, small business or homeownership to enroll.

For more information on the IDA Program and other financial and counseling assistance for new homebuyers, please contact Elkhart Housing Partnership at (574) 524-9055.