Oregon IDA Initiative Evaluation shows long term success

Today, the Oregon IDA Initiative is excited to release the 2011 Year End Evaluation. The report again indicates positive, long term changes to financial habits of IDA Participants, plus demonstrates the benefits of assets such as a home, an education, or a small business. Oregon is home to one of the largest IDA Initiatives in the county. Funded by a state tax credit, the program is currently serving over 2800 Oregonians as they learn financial skills and save for the purchase of an asset such as a home, a micro-enterprise, or an education.

Conducted by the Portland State University’s Regional Research Institute, the evaluation report includes data on IDA accounts opened between January 2008 and December 2011, including data on over 1,100 graduates. The report again indicates positive, long term changes to financial habits of IDA Participants, plus demonstrates the benefits of assets such as a home, an education, or a small business.

Highlights include:

  • Participants reported major changes in financial behaviors and confidence as a result of the education and encouragement they received. Most notably, there were large increases in the percentage that used a budget to monitor spending, regularly made deposits to a savings account, and had an emergency fund.
  • Many participants reported maintaining important financial practices even 12 months after they completed their IDA experience. For example: 55% were still using a budget in contrast to only 30% who said they used a budget prior to opening their IDA account, and 52% still had an emergency fund to tide them over during difficult times.
  • Beyond the immediate results of newly acquired assets for individual participants, the goals of the Oregon IDA Initiative are to build financial resilience that impacts family and community over the long term. Many participants indicated longer term benefits of their participation in the Oregon IDA Initiative, and some noted how their participation has had ripple effects – benefiting their children, other family members, their friends, co-workers, and community.
  • IDA participants who were not able to complete their savings goals often cited aspects of the program they found helpful, such as learning to budget.

The Oregon IDA Initiative is a proven approach which provides access to financial education and matching funds to help Oregonians achieve their dream of owning a home, starting a small business, or continuing their education. This successful collaborative effort provides the skills and funds to help rebuild Oregon’s middle class, and, in the process, rebuild Oregon. Building financial stability and resilience is a first step.

The full evaluation report can be viewed here. Also  here more about the evaluation report in this story, including an interview with a program graduate.