Through education and asset building, the Creating Assets, Savings and Hope Program empowers low and moderate income households to achieve financial self-sufficiency by teaching new habits of financial responsibility.
Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matched savings accounts that help people save for the purchase of a lifelong asset, such as
- a first home
- post-secondary education
- small business capitalization
- major repairs to a home they own
After completing a six-hour financial education class, Finding and Saving Cash, income qualifying households are eligible to open a joint savings account with Interfaith Housing Services. The money deposited into this account from an investor’s (program participant’s) earned income is matched 2:1 by Interfaith Housing Services for the purchase of their goal asset…first home, college or vocational training, small business capitalization or home repairs.
Qualifying households must have earned income that falls below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and have a net worth (market value of all assets owned, minus debt) of less than $10,000. The home you live in and one vehicle are excluded from asset determination.
Investors must save a minimum of $20 per month for a minimum of six months. They can save more if it fits within their budget and they can take up to four years to reach their savings goal. Extra deposits from income tax refunds are strongly encouraged.
Over 200 households have reached their goal through the CASH Program and over 200 more are currently saving to make their dreams a reality. Interfaith Housing Services, along with our Regional Service Providers, offers the program is available in 85 Kansas counties with plans in place for expansion of this economic development tool into the remaining 20 counties.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the income guidelines to qualify for the CASH Program?
CASH investors must have earned income from a job that falls below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
NOTE: The federal poverty level is adjusted annually; therefore, eligibility guidelines for the IHS CASH Program are adjusted on an annual basis.
What is the maximum amount of savings that is matched by the CASH Program?
The amount of match funding received varies by asset purchase.
What happens if I decide to withdraw from the program?
We are always disappointed when participants withdraw; however, we do understand that situations arise making it difficult to continue. If you are unable to continue in the program, you receive all the funds deposited into your savings account. It is always your money.
Just as situations arise that prevent you from participating in the program, those situations also change. You are eligible to try again and re-enter the program 12 months after withdrawing. You must complete the financial education class again and open another CASH savings account.
What if I miss making a deposit?
If you miss deposits, we work with you to get caught up on your monthly commitment. We ask investors to contact us if they know they are going to miss a deposit that month. If you miss two deposits in in one calendar year we will provide additional budgeting assistance to help you find money to save each month. While our goal is to see you succeed, if you miss three deposits in one calendar year, we must terminate you from the program.
What if there is an emergency and I need to withdraw funds from my account?
While emergency withdrawals are discouraged, we have procedures in place for making a withdrawal if it is necessary. Emergency withdrawals are available only to cover housing needs or medical expenses and the amount withdrawn must be repaid to your account within one year.
How do I receive the 2:1 match?
In order to receive the 2:1 match of your savings you must
• Complete the six-hour Finding and Saving Cash, financial education class
• Complete four one-hour life skills workshops
• Save monthly for a minimum of six consecutive months
• present an invoice for a qualified asset purchase
How are assets purchases made?
When you reach your savings goal and are ready to make your purchase, an invoice along with a signed savings withdrawal slip are submitted to Interfaith Housing Service. IHS makes arrangements to draw one-third of the amount requested from your savings account. An IHS check is prepared for the remaining two-thirds of the amount due. Both the check from your account and the IHS check are sent directly to the vendor from who the asset is being purchased (i.e. university, mortgage company, etc.).
How do I set-up a CASH savings account?
CASH savings accounts are joint accounts opened at a CASH partner financial institution in your community. You and IHS are authorized signers on the accounts. Neither party can withdraw funds without the other’s approval. After you complete the Finding and Saving Cash financial education class and turn in all homework assignments, you are given paperwork to take to the financial institution authorizing them to open a special CASH savings account for you.
In what counties are CASH savings accounts available?
The CASH Program is available across all of Kansas. As of spring 2015 there were program participants in 85 of 105 Kansas counties. If you live anywhere in the state of Kansas, you can apply.
If you would like to attend a meeting or get more information about the CASH Program, please contact Interfaith Housing Services today. Just like we helped others, we are waiting to help you, too.