Individual Development Account Initiative
IDA Newsletter - June, 2004
CTIDA is an e-mail newsletter containing news, information
and more about Individual Development Account (IDA) Programs. It is produced by
CTE under the auspices of the Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL). To
subscribe or unsubscribe, please send an e-mail to
June 7, 2004
Welcome to CTIDA, an e-mail newsletter about Individual
Development Account Programs in Connecticut. We hope that these communications
will be a useful source of information to those at all levels of involvement in
IDAs -- from the planning stage to experienced practitioners, including program
providers, financial institutions and all partners in between -- and also serve
as a way to publicize the successes of our state's IDA Programs. We look for
your input and feedback as to what will be useful to you as we continue to improve this newsletter to meet your needs.
For comments, questions or suggestions, contact Marie Hawe at CTE, 34 Woodland
Ave., Stamford, CT 06902. Phone: (203) 352-4851, Fax: (203) 352-2972, e-mail:
IN THIS ISSUE OF CTIDA:
Spotlight on CRT’s IDA
Assets for Independence (AFI)
CAAs and IDAs: A Natural
IDA Learning Conference
Financial Ed and Asset-Specific Training
Do's and Don'ts For Homeowners
and Home Buyers
A Special Thank You To ...
Back Issues of CTIDA Newsletter
on the CT DOL Website
SPOTLIGHT ON CRT’S IDA PROGRAM
Community Renewal Team (CRT),
the Community Action Agency serving the Greater Hartford Area, has
operated an IDA Program since 2000. The IDA Program is operated by
CRT’s HOME Center, providing a valuable resource for those IDA
participants whose asset goal is the purchase of a first home.
The CRT HOME Center provides
homeownership training for IDA participants and other first time
homebuyers. They also perform assessments for participants and
refer them to needed services both at CRT and at other agencies in the
Hartford area. Once IDA participants purchase a home, the HOME
Center can perform an energy audit on the home and help homeowners
obtain small grants or low-interest loans for needed home repairs.
The HOME Center also works
closely with the CRT Supportive Housing Program and Project TEACH, both of which
help low-income families move out of shelters and into their own apartments.
According to Steve Gosselin, CRT’s IDA Director, “This collaboration fits in
well with our IDA program goals, as it teaches families to be self-sufficient
and gives them the skills to rise above poverty levels.”
To date, CRT has had 8
successful asset purchases (6 homes, 1 small business and 1 higher education).
They currently have 33 active accounts and 15 openings. Five of their current
account holders have saved the maximum amount and are preparing for their asset
purchase. Since CRT’s program began, IDA participants have saved a total of
$45,401.97, not including matching funds!
The CRT IDA Program is run by
Steve Gosselin, IDA Program Manager. Jim Pestana is the Director. Keep up the
good work, folks !!
The Office of
Community Services (OCS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services has released its Request for Proposal for new funding under the
Assets for Independence (AFI) IDA Demonstration Program. According
to the announcement, “OCS seeks to support new and innovative AFI
Projects administered by national, State-wide, regional and
community-based organizations across the nation. The office is
interested in supporting organizations that would establish first-time
AFI Projects. OCS is also interested in providing financial support for
organizations that are managing existing AFI Projects.” Proposals are
due July 27, 2004. The announcement can be accessed at:
CAAs AND IDAs: A
CTE, through a grant from the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has developed a document
entitled: Community Action Agencies and Individual Development Accounts: A
Natural Partnership. It is a Technical Assistance Document for Community
Action Agencies operating, or thinking about operating, Individual Development
Account Programs. Information in the document was gathered from an extensive
survey of existing IDA programs that was conducted in 2003. If you would like a
copy of the document (in PDF format) please contact me (email@example.com)
and I will e-mail you a copy.
After a 2 ½-year hiatus, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED)
is holding a 2004 IDA Learning Conference. The conference,
entitled “Sharing Our Visions, Forging Our Paths,” will take place on
Sept. 21-23 in New Orleans, LA.
The purpose of the conference is to convene leaders of the
robust and evolving assets field to share their visions for helping
millions of low-income people become asset holders over the next decade
and to forge paths to make these visions a reality.
Workshop tracks will include Assets Policy, IDA Initiatives and Operations, New
Technologies, Products and Markets, and Research and Evaluation. Registration
for the conference will begin within a few weeks. In the meantime, you can keep
updated about the conference by going to
http://www.idanetwork.org or you can e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
FINANCIAL ED AND
ASSET-SPECIFIC TRAINING RESOURCES
The Asset Development Institute
(ADI) at Brandeis University and the Public and Community Affairs Department of
the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston have developed a 48-page booklet called
Pathways to Getting Ahead. It is intended for young adults (ages 17 to 30)
to spur thinking about the importance of asset building in their personal
lives. The booklet provides valuable information about how young adults can
advance along an asset-building path by saving and investing and avoiding
The booklet can be accessed at
http://www.bos.frb.org/consumer/pathways/index.htm in PDF or HTML format. To order a
complementary hard copy of the booklet or a CD-ROM, contact the Publications
Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Public and Community Affairs, P.O.
Box 2076, Boston, MA 02106-2076. Phone: 800-409-1333, or e-mail:
DOs and DON’Ts FOR
HOMEOWNERS AND HOME BUYERS
The following information was
sent to us by Sharon Gowen of the Fannie Mae Corporation, who was a speaker at a
recent CT IDA Affinity Group meeting.
Don’t deal with door-to-door or telephone
solicitors for home mortgage loans or home improvement contractors.
Don’t use a lender or contractor who will not
provide a written contract specifying all costs.
Don’t deal with any unlicensed lenders or
Don’t sign any forms or papers with blank
spaces or lines.
Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into
Don’t believe anyone who says you have no other
Don’t accept a promise that isn’t in writing,
no matter what.
Make sure the lender and your contractor are licensed.
Check with the Banking Commission and the Department of Consumer
Protection to see if any complaints have been filed against the lender or the
Ask the contractor for references.
Shop around for the best offer for both a loan and the work to be
Keep careful records and get copies of everything; make sure the
lender signs and dates all the paperwork.
Read all documents carefully and pay particular attention to
interest rates, fees, points, terms and conditions.
Ask for any explanation of ANYTHING you don’t understand.
Ask the lender to provide you with a copy of the notice of Right
to Cancel (sometimes called a Right of Rescission or Notice of Rescission) if
you are refinancing your existing loan; read it and understand what to do if you
change your mind about the loan.
Ask if you qualify for a less expensive loan before you accept a
Be very wary of “debt consolidation” offers that roll credit card
and medical bills into your home mortgage.
Make sure you can really afford to pay the loan, even if the
lender says you quality for it – you are the only one who knows if you can
comfortably make the payment (and remember the lender calculates on your GROSS
income, but you must make your payments on your TAKE HOME PAY).
Make sure the contractor provides a start and completion date in
writing as part of the contract.
And most importantly:
Get pre-loan counseling and/or education from a
reputable non-profit counseling agency !
All IDA Programs want to keep
participants motivated. Here’s one way that Amy Casey, IDA Program
Manager at The Connection, Inc. in Middletown, does it. Amy has
instituted an IDA “Showdown” – it works like this:
Participants in the IDA
Program accumulate points for attending program events and performing
“extra credit” activities. For example,
Attendance at each monthly Savings Club earns a participant 10
When a participant deposits the contracted amount in their IDA,
they earn 10 points each month.
Financial-related trivia questions that Amy hands out at each
meeting earn 5 points if answered correctly.
Completion of a word scramble handed out at each meeting earns 1
Each time a participant brings in an article related to finance
they earn 2 points.
Special events and holidays are the opportunity to earn extra
points. (For instance, each participant who shared a story at the November
meeting about something they were thankful for earned 6 points.)
Amy keeps track of each
participant’s score and at the end of each 3-month period she awards a prize to
the participant with the most points. Prizes usually are a finance-related item
such as a Suze Orman book or video or some other resource on finances or
According to Amy, "With the inception of the IDA
Showdown, I have seen increased attendance and motivation by participants who
realize that by involving themselves and staying in touch with the program,
they not only learn more but have the opportunity to earn a great prize as
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ...
Jim Horan (CAHS), Madeline
McClave (United Way of Connecticut), Phil McKain (CAFCA), Carol Heller
(Fleet/BOA), the State Treasurer's Office, the Connecticut Department of
Labor, and all IDA Programs and friends who worked to help get a
$250,000 appropriation for the Connecticut IDA Program passed in the General Assembly. A special thank
you to the State Legislators from both parties who supported the appropriation.
BACK ISSUES OF CT IDA
NEWSLETTER ON THE CT DOL WEBSITE
Back issues of the CT IDA
Newsletters can be found at the
E-Newsletters link on the Individual Development Accounts section of
the CTDOL web site.
The CTIDA e-newsletter is produced by CTE under the
auspices of the Connecticut Department of Labor. To subscribe or unsubscribe,
or to receive a printed version of this newsletter, please e-mail Marie Hawe at
Individual Development Account Initiative