From Saver to Homeowner: IDA Success Stories Part 1

To help families achieve the goal of homeowner¬ship, Bank of the West has partnered with Prosperity Now to match the savings of low-income Individual Development Account (IDA) participants saving for a new home and to support the nonprofits that provide financial education to these savers. This is the first story in a six-part series featuring Individual Development Account (IDA) program graduates from across the country. This story comes from the IDA program at Interfaith Housing Services in Hutchinson, KS.

The Hopkins Family's Story

Emily and John Hopkins work hard for their family of five. Renting a house big enough for themselves and three children was a monthly struggle, despite John's long hours at a feed yard and Emily's job at a local gas station, plus babysitting.

They needed their own home, but homeownership seemed impossible. Their assets consisted of only a savings account with a very low balance. Emily and John considered buying a home on a land contract, but that meant the Hopkins wouldn't own the land until the contract was fully paid off. They brought their contract to Interfaith Housing Services (IHS) where IHS staff reviewed the document and explained its risks given Emily and John's financial status at the time.

Empowered with better information, Emily and John chose to sign up for the Individual Development Account (IDA) program. Through the program and its workshops, they learned to identify identifying "spending leaks" in their budget. They dedicated themselves to reducing their debt and building new credit. And they were able, at last, to start saving.

Emily and John finally reached their savings goal. "We couldn't have done this without Interfaith Housing Services matching our savings and providing help to repair and build our credit," says Emily. The Hopkins found a home that was big enough for their family and more affordable than renting.

Emily and John just moved into their new home. Now, with better tools and strategies for spending and saving, they are working towards new goals to provide a better life for their children.

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