United Way of Southwest Louisiana’s Matched Savings Initiative works with low-income individuals and families to reward savings goal achievements. The initiative is designed to help participants achieve financial goals that build long-term wealth.
Participants will save toward the purchase of a specific asset such as home, vehicle, secondary education or home maintenance while United Way of Southwest Louisiana provides a financial incentive for individuals and families to save for that goal. Studies show participants in matched savings programs experience positive outcomes like savings accumulation and goal attainment even with small amounts of savings.
Families with savings of $250 - $750 are less likely to be evicted, miss a payment or receive public benefits when an emergency strikes. A large portion of Southwest Louisiana lacks the savings to face an unexpected expense of $400 without selling something, borrowing money or missing an important payment.
Participants make regular deposits to special savings accounts held at a local financial institution. When the savings goal is reached, United Way of Southwest Louisiana sends a check for the asset purchase to the closing agency, dealership, college or vendor.
Participants receive a 4:1 match on their savings toward long-term asset weath:
Those saving up to $1,500 will be matched with $6,000 for a maximum total of $7,500 for
Those saving up to $1,000 will be matched with $4,000 for a maximum total of $5,000 for
post-secondary education or a vehicle purchase
Those saving up to $500 will be matched with $2,000 for a maximum total of $2,500 for
Why does it matter?
- Having few or no assets to rely on in the event of a financial setback such as a medical crisis or job loss makes weathering difficult times more stressful and uncertain.
- New research shows it can have lifetime impacts on the children in these families as well. Children who grow up in poverty experience increased risks for lifelong hardship.
- Experiencing financial insecurity and poverty without the tools to respond when setbacks happen can lead to eviction and a lack of basic necessities.
Participants may be an individual or a household, must have EARNED INCOME and meet ONE of the following criteria:
MUST HAVE EARNED INCOME
Individual or household is eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program at the time of application.
OR BOTH OF THE FOLLOWING
Household net worth was less than $10,000 at the end of the calendar year that preceded the time of their application (not including the value of their primary dwelling unit and one motor vehicle)
Annual adjusted gross household income is less than twice (200%) the Federal Poverty Line at the time of application (see chart at right) or within Federal Earned Income Tax Credit limits
|200% Poverty Level|
|Persons in Family*||Annual Income (up to)|
|* for each addition person after 8, add $9,440|
- Commit to staying in the Matched Savings Initiative until reaching savings goal
- Deposit at least $50 each month into approved savings account while participating in the program
- Be enrolled in the Matched Savings Initiative for at least six (6) months before withdrawing from savings account
- Attend financial education and asset-specific training
What is an asset?
something you own that has monetary value, like a house, car, checking account, savings account or stock
- Credit Counseling Services
- Case Management Services
- Financial Education Training
- Asset-Specific Training regarding homeownership, entrepreneurship/business, vehicle purchase training, home maintenance, or post-secondary education
- One (1) year follow-up