The Inclusive Economy
Adventures of the Pig, Volume VI
Posted on 08/19/2010 @ 06:04 PM
The pig made a stop at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families where the Assets for Independence (AFI) Program is housed. The AFI Program is administered by the Office of Community Services (OCS) under the supervision of Program Manager Jim Gatz. The AFI Program provides grants to enable community-based nonprofits and State, local, and Tribal government agencies to implement and demonstrate an asset-based approach for offering low-income families help out of poverty. Individuals interested in building assets through participation in an AFI program can browse the AFI Project Locator to find opportunities in their communities. In addition to the information provided there, the AFI Program Fact Sheet provides a high level overview of key program information.
AFI Projects assist client families in a number of ways. They help participants save earned income in special matched savings accounts called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Every dollar in savings deposited into an IDA by a participant is matched from $1 to $8 by AFI Projects. The IDA promotes savings and enables participants to acquire a lasting asset after saving for a few years. Clients use their IDA savings, including the match funds, to acquire any of the following assets:
- A first home
- Capitalization of a small business
- Post-secondary education or training
To help clients with their IDA savings, all AFI Projects provide training and supportive services related to family finances and financial management. Services include:
- Financial education on issues such as owning and managing a bank account or a credit card
- Credit counseling and credit repair
- Guidance in accessing refundable tax credits including the Federal and State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), child tax credit, and others
- Specialized training about owning a home, starting a business or attending post-secondary school.
All AFI Projects participate in a national program evaluation to help determine the effectiveness of this asset-based approach to addressing poverty.
AFI Program Manager Jim Gatz will be featured at the Assets Learning Conference in the IDA Basics Session. We will also have a session on Child Support and Asset Building. In addition, Abt Associates is offering the Content and Skills for Making Financial Education Effective and Engaging: Level II. Come hear the latest from the AFI Program and its fellow HHS Programs at the ALC!!!