Preliminary Findings from the IDA Initiative Evaluation

Neighborhood Partnerships is proud to oversee the administration of the Oregon Individual Development Account (IDA) Initiative.  IDAs are matched savings accounts that help low and moderate income Oregonians purchase assets, such as a first home, that build economic security.  Participants can also use their IDAs to start or expand a small business, get more education, repair an aging home, or purchase equipment or technology needed to work.

We’ve contracted with the Regional Research Institute at Portland State University to do a multi-year evaluation of the IDA Initiative.  PSU’s objectives are to track and report program performance and results, capture the IDA Initiative’s impact on participants, and support ongoing program improvement.  Their preliminary research results are impressive!  Click here to see preliminary results released in June of 2009.

Graduating participants explain that participating in the IDA program has changed their lives in concrete ways:

“I have a house!”

“It helped me start my business and has brought me the most financial stability I’ve ever had.”

“I completed college and am now a teacher.”

PSU’s evaluation is also finding that IDAs change behaviors.  Graduating participants reflect:

“I am more organized and use a budget.”

“I learned to treat a savings account like a bill.”

“Taught us we can save if we put our minds to it.”

After graduating from the IDA program the percentage of participants who report being satisfied or highly satisfied with their financial status increases from 46% to 82%.  Forty-eight percent of graduates report reduced debt, and 46% report increased income.  Graduating participants are also significantly more likely to maintain emergency savings funds and track their personal finances using a budget.

PSU’s evaluation is also finding that IDA program graduates set new savings goals for themselves after purchasing their assets through the IDA program.  After completing the program graduates continue to save for emergencies, to purchase or improve a home, for family vacations, for retirement, or for education.  Encouraging participants to establish a lifelong savings habit is a program outcome we’re especially proud of!

In addition, a year after exiting the program, participants’ financial behaviors have changed:

55% often use a budget to monitor expenses.

46% maintain an emergency fund.

33% are regularly making deposits to savings.

A year after completing the program participants also report significant changes in their lives such as:

“I found it incredibly helpful.  I would have really struggled in this economy if I hadn’t worked with this program.”

“I thought this was an awesome experience.  I would love to participate again.  What I learned about budgeting I still use today.”

“Stability, my children are very happy and proud to own their home.  I feel I can do whatever I want in life.  My next goal is to go back to school and get more education.”

Full evaluation results from Portland State University will be available later this year.  We look forward to sharing those results with you in the coming months!

Learn more about the IDA Initiative!