An IDA, or individual development account, is a special savings account for people with low incomes and minimal assets. Money saved in an IDA account is matched with donated dollars. The match is typically donated by government agencies, private companies, or local community-based organizations. Any individual, organization, or business can contribute match dollars to IDAs, and in most cases, donors can get a tax deduction for contributions to IDAs. The most common source of match dollars for IDA programs are federal funds (see Federal Assets for Independence Program section). Match rates vary, but are typically 2:1 or 3:1. Savings must be used for specific asset-building purchases or investment, such as to buy a home, to pay for education, or to start a small business. Programs vary in terms of flexibility on the types of allowable assets, and increasingly programs are including major home repairs and car purchases, as allowable assets.
“IDA programs can be an important way for survivors to leverage their earned income and save for important assets that will contribute to their long-term financial security and safety.” Assets for Independence Resource Center
The Assets for Independence Resource Center: Created by OCS, this resource center is a one-stop source for all types of information related to the AFI program and IDAs. The website includes information on how to apply and successfully administer the AFI program, best practice tips, and links to general publications as well as resources for specific populations, including domestic violence survivors. Training and individual technical assistance is also available.
Purple Purse is a joint project of the Allstate Foundation and the National Network to End Domestic Violence to help survivors of domestic violence build their financial skills as a way to escape abusive relationships, get safe, stay safe and thrive. Visit the website above to access a Financial Empowerment Curriculum and othe rkey resources.