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WASHINGTON ACCESS FUND Promoting Access to Technology & Economic Opportunity for People with Disabilities in Washington State.

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Presentation on theme: "WASHINGTON ACCESS FUND Promoting Access to Technology & Economic Opportunity for People with Disabilities in Washington State."— Presentation transcript:

1 WASHINGTON ACCESS FUND Promoting Access to Technology & Economic Opportunity for People with Disabilities in Washington State

2 About us… Small AFP– bulk of initial funding in 2004 from AFP ($635,000) & Telework grants ($1,200,000). Direct Lender – underwrite & service all of our own loans. AT Loans capped at $10,000; Telework loans at $25,000. Disbursed 354 loans to date (approx. $1,215,759) – 63 this year. About $302,000 outstanding Also provide long term CCTV leases and client TA including small business planning class 2

3 Why Asset Building? Actually -- think of AT & business equipment loans as asset building… About 70% of clients at or below 80% of statewide median income; over 50% at or below statewide median 86% of clients say that they purchased their technology with an Access Fund Loan b/c it was the only way they could afford it But -- wanted to expand options for low income clients & strengthen TA 3

4 4 Access Fund IDA Programs Three Individual Development Account Pilots – all funded from sources other than Assets for Independence Program United Way of King County Collaboration – Assistive Technology for Work IDAs (2008-2011) Business Equipment IDAs (launched October 2010) Assistive Technology IDAs funded via Paul G. Allen Foundation Grant (launched January 2011) 4

5 5 United Way IDAs for Work Funded with $40,000 in state dollars under Washingtons IDA Legislation (RCW 43.31.460) which permits participants to save from unearned income for assistive technologies that allow a person with a disability to participate in work- related activities Eligibility: Person with a disability; must be saving for assistive technology for work related activities and be 18 at time of purchase 5

6 6 United Way IDAs for Work cont.. Participants started saving in October 08; Program ended in June 2011 Clients required to chose savings goals of $2000 or $4000; 1:1 Match Saving generally by EFT on day of clients choosing (1 exception) Savings put in custodial accounts so would not count as assets for SSI & other benefits Required to save for at least 6 months & take financial education & AT training 6

7 7 17 Participants – 14 men; 3 women Age: 20-60; Mdn = 44 13/17 = single person households 6 = negative net assets; 7 = net assets of less than $1000; 4 = net assets of $1000+ 10 on SSI or SSDI 5 Employed Full/Part-time; 3 Self Employed 9 Unemployed (3=students) (so ability to save from unearned income was important!) 7 United Way Savers

8 8 Monthly contributions: $10-$200/month; median about $40/month All saved & made purchases – most multiple Items Purchased: Vehicles; Computers & iPads; Special Software (Zoomtext; Dragon;ProQuo2); Closed Circuit TV; GPS System; Dentures; Hearing Aids; Digitizing Table; AT Training; Color Identifier; Talking Alarm Clock; iBill 8

9 9 United Way – Other Outcomes Exit Surveys – Clients report benefitting from: Financial Education & AT Training Saving Consistently by EFT Match even though just 1:1 Working with staff – resources & referrals Self-employed seemed to have benefitted the most; those who were unemployed -- still unemployed Barriers To A Better Life: Disability; Not Enough Money; Lack of Steady Work & Health 9

10 10 Business Equipment IDA Pilot Launched in October 2010 Funded via Telework Grant Set aside $50,000 for first year Can save any amount up to $4,000 for assistive technology or business equipment needed for employment or self employment Match is 1:1 Savings can come from earned or unearned income 10

11 11 Business Equipment IDA – Eligibility – Flexibility!!! 80% of county median income excluding disability related medical expenses Net Assets of $20,000 excluding retirement funds, special disability-related equipment Adult children living with parents eligible if considered a household for SSI purposes Parents can save for children with disabilities Children can start saving at 15 Feasibility Analysis if for Self-Employment 11

12 12 Business Equipment IDA – Requirements Save for at least six months; total of three years to save Asset Specific Training (AT, Technology and/or Small Business) required Financial Education required – Goal is to develop a specialized curriculum which can be offered on line or in person! – New: Benefits Consultation & Assistance with goal of offering full range of tools (loans, IDAs, Work Incentives, etc.) to clients 12

13 13 Business Equipment IDA – To Date 14 Enrolled; one more in process of enrolling Savings goals range from $750-4000 (slightly higher than last group?) Similar profiles – age, employment status, etc. Most want to start/expand small business Several from United Way Pilot – needed more time to save or saving for new items Equipment: Computers; ipads; software; sewing machines; digitizing board; vehicles, etc! 13

14 14 New Assistive Technology IDA Pilot! Funded by Paul G. Allen Foundation as part of comprehensive asset building program Participants can save up to $4,000 for any type of assistive technology and/or home and vehicle accessibility modifications. AT can be for any purpose – not just work related activities! Savings can come from earned or unearned income! Match: 1:1 14

15 15 New Assistive Technology IDA Pilot! Eligibility Requirements: Same as Business Equipment IDA (except that equipment need not be for employment or self-employment!) Program Requirements – Same as Business Equipment IDA (except not required to take self- employment training of course!) Program Launched in February – $25,000 set aside – Year 1. As of August 31: 8 Active savers; 1 enrolling. Saving for computers, communication devices, therapy pool, GPS System 15

16 16 Benefits to Loan Programs Clients now have new options for getting AT & business equipment that they could not afford without this program. Helps build long term relationships with clients -- have a greater impact in terms of TA provided including financial education/training on AT and self- employment A number of clients have combined IDAs with either AT or TW loans.. 16

17 17 Considerations & Challenges Staffing – need to have staff with time & expertise. More labor intensive than loan programs! We are happy to help! AFI programs – Cannot save from unearned income; AT is not an asset Partners – many in asset building community are not familiar with disability related issues, AT or obligations to provide accommodations. 17

18 18 Other Asset Building Tools… Credit Reporting via Credit Builders Alliance ( Credit Builder Loans – up to $500 for assistive technology or business equipment – clients who do not meet regular underwriting standards but have cash flow IDAs – Individual Development Accounts or Matched Savings Programs

19 Access Fund Staff Frances Pennell, Executive Director Kathy Gilman, Program Director & Business Loans Leann Wicklund, Matched Savings Accounts Phone: 1-206-328-5116 TTY: 1-888-494-4775 19

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