Individual Development Accounts Help Oregonians Secure Employment and Achieve Their Goals

With the help of Oregon’s Individual Development Account (IDA) Initiative, low income Oregonians are given the tools to build their financial security through financial education classes and matched savings incentives.  With the money saved, IDA participants purchase a major asset such as a home, post-secondary education, a small business, or assistive technology that helps them secure employment. These assets help build economic stability and put money back into Oregon’s economy.

William Sherfield is one such Oregonian. He enrolled in Umpqua CDC’s Dream$avers program two years ago. Due to his medical issues, William needs his wheelchair most of the time. William expressed to the Dream$avers staff his desire to get back to work and be out among people. In order to accomplish this goal, he needed a vehicle that could accommodate his wheelchair.

Before the Dream$avers program, if William wanted to get around he had to have someone with him to set up a makeshift ramp so he could maneuver his electric wheelchair in and out of their vehicle.  While William was participating in the Dream$avers program, his brother purchased a septic tank cleaning business, and wanted William to be the one to take care of the books.  The one barrier was that the business didn’t have a vehicle that could transport William.

Thanks to the Dream$avers IDA Program, William was able to save for and purchase a handicap accessible van.  “This allows me to go and work and be independent,” says William.  “My brother just bought a business and is going to hire me to do his books, so this is going to help me and my brother, isn’t that great!” William is now totally self-sufficient, employed and enjoying his new-found independence.

[flickr]http://www.flickr.com/photos/neighborhoodpartnerships/4566888476/[/flickr]

“I would like to thank everyone for what this has done for me and everyone I know.  So thank you very much.” William’s story is a great example of how the IDA program can help Oregonians achieve their goals!