The IDA program promotes asset development among individuals whose income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level. The program provides intensive training and technical assistance, and helps clients to save money towards a house, business, vehicle, or post-secondary education. Most of the CEDS clients start businesses or purchase vehicles. CEDS matches clients’ savings, currently a 1:1 match up to $2,000 per individual and $4,000 per household for a house, business, or post-secondary education. (The match for a vehicle purchase is limited to $2,000 for both an individual and a household.)
All participants are required to receive financial capability training that covers personal income management, banking, credit, saving for investment, taxes, etc., all tied to establishing or repairing credit scores. The IDA program is supported with only funding from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), and participants have up to two years to achieve their asset goals. CEDS has a waiting list to participate in the program, so any participant who cannot achieve their asset goal is replaced with a new participant. Consequently, CEDS is among the most successful ORR IDA grantees in terms of distributing all matching funds as a result of assisting participants to achieve their asset goals.