Immigrant Escaped Poverty with Matched Savings

Cesilia Bueso tells her friends that she is living proof that with hard work and years of savings, their dreams of homeownership can come true.

A native of Honduras, she experienced a less than ideal living situation before coming to America.

"We lived in the kind of extreme poverty that you just can't imagine in this country," she said.

Not too long after immigrating to the U.S., Cesilia attended a homeownership seminar and became determined to buy a home. With just $300, she opened a savings account and then applied for a credit card to start building her credit history. She soon began claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and put those refunds - an annual $2,000 for four years - toward savings for her own home.

Cesilia was eventually referred to Earned Assets Resource Network (EARN), one of Prosperity Now's partners that offers an Individual Development Account program. IDAs help low- to moderate-income people purchase life-long assets, such as a home, by matching every dollar that they save with another $1-3. Within one year, she saved $2,000, which became $6,000. She now had enough for the closing cost on a new home.

If Cesilia took away one lesson away from her participation in an IDA program, it is that people should save whatever they can, whenever they can.

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