From Homeless to Homeowners

"Both my wife and I had been renting for years," said new homeowner Marvin Talley. "So owning our new home finally gives us a sense of wealth and roots; it's something that is ours."

Marvin attributes his family's new financial stability to long-term determination and his Individual Development Account (IDA).

IDAs are matched savings accounts created by Prosperity Now to alleviate low- to moderate-income individual's capabilities to purchase lifelong assets like a home, college education or small business.

Marvin and his wife, Deborah, enrolled in an IDA program offered through Washington, DC's Capital Area Asset Builders - a nonprofit that was one of Prosperity Now's original partners when it first tested the approach.

They strove to save $1,000 and reached their goal, but the help of the IDA turned their $1,000 into $4,000. Even with both of Marvin and Deborah experiencing unexpected medical emergencies not fully covered by health insurance, they were still able to achieve their savings goal in just three years.

Marvin's life has not followed a straight or easy path. Following a divorce, he experienced periods of depression, unemployment and substance abuse that led him to become homeless. But after seeking help, he was able to move on with his life and could no longer refer to himself as homeless, but a homeowner as the IDA he had created helped him afford the downpayment on a house.

"I am starting to look ahead toward retirement. When I do, I'll have an affordable mortgage I can keep up, and that is great."

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