So just what is an IDA? According to Jamie Jimenez, Director of the United Way of Abilene, you can boil it down to a set of courses that teach students how to properly manage their finances.
"The end goal is of course a 4-to-1 match savings account," Jimenez explains.
The money for the savings accounts is provided by a grant from the Office of Community Services.
"Participants that go through this financial literacy program are then able to buy a home, start a business, or go back to school," says Jimenez.
Because the grant program is based in Taylor County, only residents of Taylor County are eligible to take part in the program. Beyond that first qualification, the money gained through the savings account must also be put back into the Taylor County economy, by being spent locally.
"It is a working grant," adds Jimenez, "so people that apply have to have working income. Unfortunately we can't assist those that get government assistance only, so its for those who are working."
Candidates will also be disqualified if they make more than 200% above the current poverty level, which according to Jimenez is approximately $23,000 per person.
"In Taylor County there are a lot of families of four that are qualified for the IDA program," explains Jimenez.
The program consists of a total of 8 financed based workshops, that focus on topics like responsible credit, debt, budgeting, and savings.
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