University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Psychiatry
Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy

National Research and Training Center (NRTC)

/Training and Education

Asset Accumulation Through Individual Development Accounts

Project Update Attendees at the IDA Meeting

Six people completed a financial education class taught by UIC staffers Jane Burke-Miller and Tina Carter that was adapted from a program developed by the University of Illinois Extension, and tailored specifically to the needs of people with psychiatric disabilities. This highly personalized, interactive course engaged participants in tracking their expenses, budgeting their incomes, and planning for savings. Following are a list of classes that each participant completed.

With the assistance of Theresa Wick, a Thresholds staff member who joined us as the agency's project coordinator a few months ago, five of the six financial education class participants have opened IDA accounts. The remaining participant lost her job soon after completing the financial education program. After discussions with UIC and Thresholds staff, she decided that she needed more time to settle into steady employment, and would not open an account at this time. We assisted the remaining five in completing their applications and supporting paperwork. Their eligibility was then verified by our project partner Fred Stupen of Asset Builders CDC (the IDA program in Chicago), and information was collected to meet federal reporting requirements. Finally, the group met with Sam Mansour from Charter One Bank who took their initial IDA deposits ($25 each) and opened five IDA savings accounts. Everyone was excited and happy about taking this step toward financial independence. as you can see from the picture attached to this email.

We will meet with the group again in January to ensure that the second month's deposit is made, and to help participants set up direct deposit or other mechanisms for ensuring timely monthly deposits.

Of the participants who started an IDA, 3 will be saving for buying a home or condo, 2 participants will be saving for post-secondary education or vocational/technical training, and 1 participant is saving for micro-enterprise development. Over the coming months, we will arrange for specialists in low-income home purchasing, financing post-secondary education, and micro-enterprise development to talk to the group. We will continue to meet with the group to help when needed and support ongoing savings.

Depending on the availability of further funding, we may begin recruitment for a second wave of IDA participants. These individuals would complete our financial education course this winter and then open accounts in the spring of 2007.

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