The Inclusive Economy
SaveUSA Program Saves Low-income Families Nearly $1 Million
By Sean Luechtefeld on 02/09/2012 @ 10:30 AM
New York City Mayor Bloomberg, Consumer Affairs Commissioner (and longtime CFED friend) Mintz, and Center for Economic Opportunity Director White announced last week that SaveUSA, an innovative program designed to help low-income individuals save for their financial futures, helped participants save nearly $1 million!
The program, based on the NYC’s $aveNYC program, was rolled out in three other cities in 2011 – Tulsa, Newark and San Antonio – as part of the City’s Social Innovation Fund project. Across the four cities, 1,662 accounts were opened. In NYC alone, residents with an average annual income of $16,000 saved about $250,000. Recognizing the importance of the tax preparation moment as a gateway to savings, the SaveUSA program offered accounts at 69 VITA sites throughout the five boroughs to workers who agreed to set aside at least $200 of their tax refunds.
This innovative program couldn’t have come to fruition at a more opportune time. According to data in our 2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, New York ranks 27th overall in the financial stability of its residents. When it comes at Financial Assets & Income, which includes asset poverty measures that gauge New Yorkers’ financial security, the state earns a ‘C’. In fact, fully one in three (35.5%) in the Empire State lives in asset poverty, making the need for programs like SaveUSA more dire than ever before.