Our residents inspire us! The investment in Asset Building programs that encourage greater personal aspiration and achievement are an important focus for CHOC. A primary example of an Asset Building Tool CHOC utilizes is Individual Development Accounts (IDA).
An IDA is a matched savings program that implements a foundation of financial fitness/literacy/education as a fundamental component to economic and financial growth resulting in Asset Wealth Building, which is integral to CHOC’s Mission. CHOC’s IDA program was funded by grant monies from Assets for Independence a partnership with California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH). The match was a 3:1 ratio; for every dollar a participant saved in a secure custodial account, it was matched 3:1 upon completion of the program and put towards an asset purchase. Qualifying Asset Purchases include Small Business Start-Up or Expansion, the Purchase of First Home and Post-Secondary Education.
IDA Program Requirements are as follows: complete 8 hours of financial fitness workshops, meet regularly with program coordinator to implement the financial tools from these courses i.e. budgeting, credit consolidation/improvement and consistently saving for a minimum of six (6) months and up to 2 years. In addition every participant chooses an Asset Goal and completes the specific requirements of that Asset Purchase. For example participants pursuing a Small Business must write a completed business plan, with assistance from experts from the Small Business Administration-SBA/Small Business Development Center-SBDC. Participants seeking homeownership must attend an 8 hour homeownership course at a local NeighborWorks Home Ownership Counseling Center. And finally, for those who are interested in continuing their education or attending an accredited vocational institution; they will meet with a counselor from that school/program and create an educational plan.
CHOC strongly believes in encouraging residents to invest in themselves and build a supportive network within the community in which they live.
CHOC’s IDA program is designed to encourage participants to create a supportive network of experts to provide guidance throughout the duration of their Asset Building journey. An excellent example is Deborah Hill, one of CHOC’s IDA graduates. Her Asset Goal: “I wanted to better myself and become a successful business woman.” Deborah’s journey to discover the definition of “a successful business woman” was-and is-inspiring. Beginning with her initial interest in 2010 – and over the course of ten months – she built a supportive network of experts, increased her knowledge of how to build a successful business and cultivated her passion; Deborah has been a longtime resident at CHOC’s Danbury Park property in Antelope, CA and is active in community events and activities on-site.
Deborah Hill & her mentor Mr. Green @ the SBDC
During this time of discovery and learning new best practices, she experienced multiple challenges. With CHOC staff guidance, and the help of SBA/SBDC, she designed a business plan that would evolve. Recently I got the opportunity to get together with Deborah at our regular meeting location, the Danbury Park Community Room. It was here that we continued to travel down the path of identifying and defining Deborah as: A Businesswoman, An Entrepreneur and Capable Visionary. An additional meeting was set-up with SBDC business counselor, Mr. Clyde Greene to discuss the reconstruction of her business. This new plan, included a consignment sale of her inventory to create economic capital and to shift her energies to a line of business with a growing interest and revenue.
Custom designed wedding brooms and nuptial blessings by Deb
Deborah’s original small business start-up “The Dipping Fountain”, posed a challenge after some recent health challenges that she faced. Therefore, shifting to a smaller business output of designing custom wedding brooms accompanied with nuptial blessing certificates served as a creative outlet for Deborah and a tool to increase her income. Deborah Hill, A Businesswoman, Asset Builder and proud CHOC resident.
By Angie López, CHOC Staff and Community Manager An Advocate for Asset Building and Supporter of Investing in Our Communities.