Individual Development Account Initiative
IDA Newsletter - January 2006
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
January 9, 2006
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:
Housing Trust Fund
Reports, Reports, Reports
Financial Education Resources
Tax Preparation Materials
Assets Learning Conference
IDA Success Story
HOUSING TRUST FUND
Acting on a
proposal by Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier, last session the State
Legislature passed a bill authorizing the establishment of a Housing Trust
Fund. Up to $20 million per year in state general obligation bonds will be
sold for up to a total of $100 million to support the Fund. The Housing Trust
Fund program will provide gap financing, grants, loan guarantees and low- and
no-interest loans to increase housing stock for Connecticut’s low-income
residents. In addition,
per year will be set aside to fund housing IDAs.
The Housing Trust Fund will be administered by the Department of
Economic and Community Development (DECD). The IDA component will
be administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor.
Regulations are in the process of being drafted. We will keep you
updated on information about the Housing Trust Fund IDA program as soon
as it becomes available.
REPORTS, REPORTS, REPORTS
Thank you to the IDA program operators who have
spent many hours this fall preparing reports for both the federally-funded
(Assets for Independence) and the CT IDA Initiative programs. Thanks to all of
you for your efforts !
Here is a small sampling of the data that have been
CT IDA Program: During the recently-ended
program year, the 35 active participants in the CT IDA Initiative Program
deposited a total of $16,680 into their IDAs, earning $24,739 in matching
funds. 7 participants purchased an asset this past year.
DOL Assets for Independence (AFI) Programs:
The Connecticut Department of Labor operates 4 federally-funded AFI IDA
programs. Three of these are co-administered by CAFCA, the Connecticut
Association for Community Action, and operated by Community Action Agencies
throughout the state. The other DOL AFI program is operated by The Connection,
Inc., a non-profit agency based in Middletown. As of September 30, 2005:
- 415 participants have opened IDAs
- $323,631 in savings has been deposited by participants into their
- 82 assets have been purchased (First home –
44; Post-Secondary Education – 16; Small Business – 22)
This information on the AFI programs has been sent
to Washington to be included in the annual Report to Congress. You can read a
compilation of previous years’ Reports to Congress on the HHS website:
is a financial education curriculum developed by Consumer Action and Capital
One. Materials available include participant information brochures, leaders’
guides, power point slides and lesson plans on each module topic. Modules
include Banking, Elder Scams, Credit, Micro Business, Managing Your Money,
Rebuilding Good Credit, Saving and Talking to Teens About Money. For more
information, go to
TAX PREPARATION MATERIALS
The Center on Budget and Policy
Priorities 2006 “Make Tax Time Pay!” Tax Credit Community Outreach Kit is now
available. The kit provides tools and information to help organizations in
their Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit outreach activities. An
organization can request one kit free of charge; for bulk quantities there is a
$3.00 per kit charge. To order, contact the Center at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-408-1080.
- IRS forms and publications as well as other information and resources for
the upcoming tax season can be found at:
- The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has published a helpful
paper on Individual Development Accounts that explains IDA Programs and the
opportunities they present to financial institutions. This is a document that
can be shared with your financial institution partners. You can find it at:
The Office of Community Services
of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a standing
Request for Proposals for the Assets for Independence (AFI) Program. AFI
provides grants of up to $1,000,000 to non-profits and government agencies that
provide financial education to clients and assist them with saving money in IDAs
for the purpose of acquiring one of three long-term assets (a first home,
post-secondary education, or a small business). Applicants are required to
raise non-Federal matching funds, in an amount equal to or greater than the
amount of the grant.
The AFI grant review will be
conducted three times a year: March 15, June 15 and November 1. Grants will be
awarded throughout the year. Following are several useful links for those
planning to apply for AFI funding.
For more information, contact the Office of
Community Services, Assets for Independence Program, at 202-401-4626 or
2006 ASSETS LEARNING CONFERENCE
The Corporation For Enterprise Development (CFED)
has announced that its 2006 Assets Learning Conference will be held from
September 19-21, 2006 in Phoenix, Arizona. This conference (formerly called the
IDA Learning Conference) has been renamed to recognize the expanding scope of
the field. Over 900 participants are expected to attend. For more information,
go to www.cfed.org.
Merlette H. was a participant in
the IDA Program operated by CRT, Hartford’s Community Action Agency. Merlette
joined the IDA Program in January 2002 with the goal of purchasing a home for
herself and her 2 daughters. Being a single mom, it was not always easy for her
to keep up with her savings goal, but she persevered. A smart budgeter, she
took advantage of as many of CRT’s programs as she could in order to help her
cut households costs and save as much as she could. Three years later, Merlette
found a beautiful two-family home in East Hartford. She qualified for a
mortgage and, in September 2005, achieved her dream of becoming a homeowner !
Merlette is happy to share her success story and is an inspiration to others
still saving for their first home. “Merlette came to our December IDA Savings
Club Holiday Party and spoke to the IDA participants about the home buying
process and how the program worked for her,” said Steve Gosselin, Director of
CRT’s IDA Program and the Homeownership Center. Merlette’s dream is now a
reality for her and her daughters. “We spend every evening with paint rollers or
shovels or scrub brushes in our hands,” she said. “But we’re so happy!”
IDA Q AND A
What qualifies as “income” for the IDA program?
There are two kinds of income that have implications for your IDA program. One kind is the household income upon which program
eligibility is based. Generally, for this purpose, income includes the
Wages and salaries before any deductions.
Net receipts from self-employment (receipts from one’s own
business after deductions for business expenses).
Regular payment from the Social Security Administration (gross
benefits), railroad retirement, unemployment compensation, strike benefits from
union funds, worker’s compensation, veteran’s payments, public assistance
(including TANF, SSI and SSDI), training stipends, alimony, child support, and
military family allotments.
Private pensions, government employee pensions (including military
retirement pay), regular insurance or annuity payments.
Dividends, interest, net rental income, net royalties, periodic
receipts from estates or trusts, and net gambling or lottery winnings.
Payments to Native Americans from gaming revenues (e.g., casino
When determining program
eligibility, do not include the following:
Any withdrawal from a bank; the sale of property, a house or a car.
Tax refunds, gifts, loans, lump sum inheritances or one-time
Non-case benefits such as employer-paid or union-paid portion of
health insurance or other employee fringe benefits, food or housing received in
lieu of wages, and federal non-cash benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid,
food stamps, school lunches, housing and other emergency assistance.
Any portion of Social Security benefits deducted to pay Medicare premiums that will not be reimbursed.
The other kind of income is
earned income. Earned income is what IDA account holders save in their IDA.
Earned income is generated by the household, through one or more of the
Formal employment (with a paycheck, W-2, etc.) including, but not
limited to, wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses and tips.
Informal employment (e.g., someone provides childcare for their
neighbors on a regular basis and receives cash payments).
Self-employment (selling cosmetics, gift baskets, cleaning houses,
Earned Income Tax Credit refunds.
NOTE: The above answer pertains only to the issue of
“income.” Some IDA programs have an additional asset test that potential
participants must pass in order to be eligible for the program.
Thanks to Susan Lindson
of the Michigan IDA Partnership for portions of the above information.
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