Great Falls Tribune (Montana)
By: Carrie Koppy
October 3, 2010
Even women acknowledge it is hard to agree on what women want, because individuals are unique and their interests run broad and deep.
However, one thing is certain: Women want a safe place to live and raise children, own a pet, do some decorating and maybe start a garden. In other words, they want a good home.
NeighborWorks Great Falls can help that happen, and a great tool for prospective first-time homeowners is a matched-savings account.
The concept behind a matched-savings account is to help families develop solid savings habits, and then reward the new habits and the hard work of saving with a grant four times greater than the amount saved.
Kyle Vogel and Danielle live, who were renting and living in a trailer with a leaky roof, drippy swamp cooler, and scarred flooring, were expecting their baby. A clean, safe house was their first concern.
Both participated in the Great Falls matched-savings account at the same time, and both committed to saving $1,000. The result: They met their savings goal and each received a 4:1 match, meaning they had $10,000 to put toward a home.
Danielle said that, as a mom, she couldn't be happier. We have our own house where the roof doesn't leak, the floors and carpeting are safe for our baby to crawl on, and we have a yard and garage. We are so happy! Everything happened just in time!
Another young woman was discouraged by her low credit score and her inability to get a big-enough loan to buy a home. She left the NeighborWorks office in tears of frustration, saying later that she thought to herself, I'll never be able to do this.
However, she persevered. She met her savings goal and used her $5,000 toward her home purchase. She said she was proud to prove herself wrong: "I could do it, and now I have my own home in time for Christmas."
Another customer, Myrtle Quincy, told NWGF she had ached to be a homeowner. She struggled to save for a down payment until she enrolled in the matched-savings program, called the NeighborWorks Individual Development Account Program. The IDA program helped her discipline herself and meet her savings goals.
Myrtle describes her family now: "We are very happy I have been renting for years. I looked into NeighborWorks programs, went to Homebuyer Education, and then started saving my down payment through the IDA. My kids and I now have a new house! This is a dream come true for us."
These anecdotes should encourage others to believe that they can overcome credit and savings issues with a little professional guidance.
For more information about the matched-savings account (IDA), call 761-5861 and ask to speak to Barb.
Koppy is the marketing manager for NeighborWorks Great Falls. She can be reached at email@example.com, or a 751-5861.