From the Desk of Jim Morris, President & CEO
You often here the phrase, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” In Habitat for Humanity parlance, we often talk about providing a hand up and not a hand-out. Our sense of fulfilling Jesus’s second greatest command of loving our neighbor with the understanding that our neighbor is also participating in some way, whatever means available. As we commemorate 30 years of fulfilling our mission to build homes, communities and hope, Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity has secured the ability to offer future home buyers another hand up that isn’t a free lunch, but is definitely a multiplier toward their efforts to successful homeownership.
In August, the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority granted Greater Indy Habitat the ability to administer Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Having an IDA program will allow future Habitat homebuyers to create a savings account for down payment assistance, matched 4:1 through state and federal monies toward savings goals. It is an opportunity to help build a savings mindset toward long-term homeownership success, while also providing a way for the homebuyer to obtain the up-front monies necessary for being a homeowner.
As part of our pre-buying, homeowner education process, we already walk homebuyers through financial education classes that emphasize credit, debt, or other issues that could prevent them from reaching their homeowner goals and long-term financial aspirations. Having the IDAs as a tool will only continue to benefit the homeowners in their journey to a better quality of life.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the personal saving rate in the United States is 5.7%. Recently, GoBankingRates posed the question to more than 7,000 Americans of how much they had in their savings account. Nearly seven in 10 Americans (69%) had less than $1,000 in their savings account. Most low-income families would fall into this category as they can barely cover expenses let alone save money, so having another tool to provide them the opportunity to save and to invest in their long-term future feels to us like we are adhering to Jesus’s command.