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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Schreiner, Mark; Clancy, Margaret; Sherraden, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    The American Dream Demonstration (ADD) is the first systematic study of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDAs are special accounts wherein savings are matched for the poor.

    While saving is not easy for anyone, it is more difficult for the poor because they have few resources and because they lack access to some public policy mechanisms, such as tax-benefited retirement accounts, that subsidize saving. IDAs are designed to increase savings incentives for the poor. Savings in IDAs are matched if used for home ownership, post-secondary education, microenterprise, or other approved asset uses. Participants also receive financial education and support from IDA staff.

    Do IDAs work? ADD suggests that the poor can save and accumulate assets in IDAs:

    Average monthly net deposits per participant were $19.07.

    The average participant saved about $1 for every $2 that could have been matched.

    The average participant made a deposit in about 6 of every 12 months.

    With an average match rate of about 2:1, participants accumulated...

    The American Dream Demonstration (ADD) is the first systematic study of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDAs are special accounts wherein savings are matched for the poor.

    While saving is not easy for anyone, it is more difficult for the poor because they have few resources and because they lack access to some public policy mechanisms, such as tax-benefited retirement accounts, that subsidize saving. IDAs are designed to increase savings incentives for the poor. Savings in IDAs are matched if used for home ownership, post-secondary education, microenterprise, or other approved asset uses. Participants also receive financial education and support from IDA staff.

    Do IDAs work? ADD suggests that the poor can save and accumulate assets in IDAs:

    Average monthly net deposits per participant were $19.07.

    The average participant saved about $1 for every $2 that could have been matched.

    The average participant made a deposit in about 6 of every 12 months.

    With an average match rate of about 2:1, participants accumulated approximately $700 per year in IDAs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Mills, Gregory; Patterson, Rhiannon; Orr, Larry; DeMarco, Donna
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    This report presents findings on the effects of individual development accounts (IDAs) on the savings and asset accumulation of low-income individuals. IDAs are subsidized savings accounts that are targeted for special purposes – typically for homeownership, business capitalization, and postsecondary education, but also (under some programs) for home repair or improvement, vehicle purchase, and retirement. The subsidy is provided in the form of funds that match the account holder’s withdrawals for allowable asset purchases, at match rates that can exceed 1:1. (author abstract)

    This report presents findings on the effects of individual development accounts (IDAs) on the savings and asset accumulation of low-income individuals. IDAs are subsidized savings accounts that are targeted for special purposes – typically for homeownership, business capitalization, and postsecondary education, but also (under some programs) for home repair or improvement, vehicle purchase, and retirement. The subsidy is provided in the form of funds that match the account holder’s withdrawals for allowable asset purchases, at match rates that can exceed 1:1. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brown, Amy
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2005

    The Annie E. Casey Foundation has been an active supporter of Earned Income Tax Credit Campaigns across the United States. Building on existing services in their communities, these campaigns provide: (1) education and outreach to promote the EITC and other tax credits for qualified working-poor families; (2) free or low-priced quality tax preparation services; and (3) links to other programs and services so that tax filers can use their refunds to build financial assets.

    While the campaigns have helped hundreds of thousands of low-income workers receive tens of millions in tax refunds, they have been expensive and labor-intensive to operate. Given the campaigns’ ambitious goals and limited resources, there is increasing interest in identifying alternative models that have greater potential for scale, sustainability and impact. Beginning in late 2003, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, working through the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, provided grants and technical assistance to a limited number of EITC campaigns to support the design, development and pilot...

    The Annie E. Casey Foundation has been an active supporter of Earned Income Tax Credit Campaigns across the United States. Building on existing services in their communities, these campaigns provide: (1) education and outreach to promote the EITC and other tax credits for qualified working-poor families; (2) free or low-priced quality tax preparation services; and (3) links to other programs and services so that tax filers can use their refunds to build financial assets.

    While the campaigns have helped hundreds of thousands of low-income workers receive tens of millions in tax refunds, they have been expensive and labor-intensive to operate. Given the campaigns’ ambitious goals and limited resources, there is increasing interest in identifying alternative models that have greater potential for scale, sustainability and impact. Beginning in late 2003, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, working through the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, provided grants and technical assistance to a limited number of EITC campaigns to support the design, development and pilot implementation of innovative approaches to EITC outreach, tax preparation and asset development.

    In 2005, five campaigns tested variations of three approaches to achieving scale, sustainability and impact. Those approaches involved partnerships with employers, government and commercial tax preparers. Over the course of the year, the Aspen Institute documented the design, implementation and results of each of pilots. This paper draws on all five experiences to extract common themes. The lessons learned can help expand our understanding of the challenge of scale for the community economic development field.

    The starting point for approaching this topic is a framework developed by the Aspen Institute to describe how initiatives grow. The model proposes that it takes time to move to scale, and that critical steps along the journey – including standardization and infrastructure-building – are often left out in the rush to expand or replicate.

    With this in mind, this paper draws on the five pilot experiences to examine the following questions:
    How can we develop the infrastructure needed to bring community economic development efforts to scale?
    What information or knowledge is missing that can help achieve scale?
    What role does operational capacity play in the pursuit of scale?
    What factors make a model scalable?

    The answers to these questions, as informed by the EITC pilots and described here, are striking in how well they mirror current thinking in the private sector about growth and scale. Indeed, while the language and context of the nonprofit sector are different, the path to scale may be surprisingly similar. Taken together, information culled from the three sources – the Aspen framework, lessons from the pilots and private sector parallels – can help create a roadmap for next steps in the pursuit of scale in community economic development. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Mills, Gregory; Gale, William G. ; Patterson, Rhiannon; Engelhardt, Gary V.; Eriksen, Michael D.; Apostolov, Emil
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2007

    We evaluate the first controlled field experiment on Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Including their own contributions and matching funds, treatment group members in the Tulsa, Oklahoma program could accumulate $6750 for home purchase or $4500 for other qualified uses. Almost all treatment group members opened accounts, but many withdrew all funds for unqualified purposes. Among renters at the beginning of the experiment, the IDA increased homeownership rates after 4 years by 7–11 percentage points and reduced non-retirement financial assets by $700–$1000. The IDA had almost no other discernable effect on other subsidized assets, overall wealth, or poverty rates. (author abstract)

    We evaluate the first controlled field experiment on Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Including their own contributions and matching funds, treatment group members in the Tulsa, Oklahoma program could accumulate $6750 for home purchase or $4500 for other qualified uses. Almost all treatment group members opened accounts, but many withdrew all funds for unqualified purposes. Among renters at the beginning of the experiment, the IDA increased homeownership rates after 4 years by 7–11 percentage points and reduced non-retirement financial assets by $700–$1000. The IDA had almost no other discernable effect on other subsidized assets, overall wealth, or poverty rates. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Grinstein-Weiss, Michal; Lee, Jung-Sook; Greeson, Johanna K. P.; Han, Chang-Keun; Yeo, Yeong H.; Irish, Kate
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    For low-income families, homeownership represents an important strategy for promoting long-term social and economic development. Individual Development Account (IDA) programs facilitate saving toward assets such as a home through matching, financial education, and case management. Using longitudinal experimental data from the American Dream demonstration, this study examines the impact of IDA participation on homeownership rates and on clearing old debts. Low-income participants were interviewed after 18 months (Wave 2) and after program completion at 48 months (Wave 3).

    Logistic regression results indicate that among those who were renters at baseline, IDA participation significantly increases the clearing of old debts at Wave 2 and homeownership rates at Wave 3. IDA participants with cleared debt activity had the highest probability of becoming homeowners at Wave 3 (32 percent), while those who were not IDA participants and did not have such activity had only a 9.6 percent probability. (author abstract)

    For low-income families, homeownership represents an important strategy for promoting long-term social and economic development. Individual Development Account (IDA) programs facilitate saving toward assets such as a home through matching, financial education, and case management. Using longitudinal experimental data from the American Dream demonstration, this study examines the impact of IDA participation on homeownership rates and on clearing old debts. Low-income participants were interviewed after 18 months (Wave 2) and after program completion at 48 months (Wave 3).

    Logistic regression results indicate that among those who were renters at baseline, IDA participation significantly increases the clearing of old debts at Wave 2 and homeownership rates at Wave 3. IDA participants with cleared debt activity had the highest probability of becoming homeowners at Wave 3 (32 percent), while those who were not IDA participants and did not have such activity had only a 9.6 percent probability. (author abstract)

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