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1 Redevelopment Opportunities for Women THE REAP Program ROW’s Economic Action Program Empowering battered women through financial education & Individual.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Redevelopment Opportunities for Women THE REAP Program ROW’s Economic Action Program Empowering battered women through financial education & Individual."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Redevelopment Opportunities for Women THE REAP Program ROW’s Economic Action Program Empowering battered women through financial education & Individual Development Accounts Sheila Fazio, MSW Domestic Violence Advocate IDA Coordinator

2 2 Outline Mutual Understandings History of REAP Economic Education The Process Eligibility, Account Structure & Guidelines Statistics IDA Coordinator Responsibilities

3 3 Mutual Understandings…… One of the most significant obstacles for women who are attempting to escape abusive relationships is the near certain economic devastation that will follow For thousands of low income battered women in the St. Louis area, financial dependence has prevented them from freeing themselves from an abusive partner The inability to become economically self-sufficient has often been a primary reason for the return to an abusive relationship For a battered woman, the need to rebuild herself financially becomes core to remaining safe from her abuser-and safe from future abuse. Mutual Understandings……..

4 4 September 2000 –ROW brought together 11 domestic violence agencies in the St. Louis area to look at ways to address the economic factors that affect battered women and their safety August 2001 –ROW created a financial literacy curriculum specifically designed toward meeting the needs of women that have or are currently experiencing intimate partner violence History of ROW’s Economic Action Program

5 5 Summer 2001 ( May-July) –Designed an IDA program for women who have been abused and trapped in poverty, creating the opportunities for women to save their way toward a better and safer future –Applied for AFIA Grant and received it in July 2001 –Acquired Match Funds through local donations Row’s Economic Action Program October 2001: Opened first IDA Acct October 2001: Opened first IDA Acct

6 6 ROW’s Economic Action Program (R.E.A.P) Economic Education and IDAs 1 - 4 Yr. Follow-Up Support Evaluation IDAs & ECONOMIC EDUCATION for BATTERED WOMEN Lydia’s House Weinman St. Martha’s Women’s Safe House Women’s Center Women’s Support & Comm. Services Life Source Consultants Woman’s Place AWARE Legal Advocates For Abused Women Community in Partnership Room at the Inn Passage House Our Ladies Inn Domestic Violence and Homeless Shelters Non-residential programs St. Louis Victim’sAssistance YWCA - Women’s Resource Center

7 7 ECONOMIC EDUCATION Emphasis on Safety Issues Financial Education –Money and Power –Creating a Spending Plan –Credit Education and Credit Counseling –Saving and Investing –Individual Economic Action Plans Intensive one on one advocacy and follow-up through an empowerment model

8 8 The Process Participant attends financial literacy at DV shelter or at community site Participant is informed about the IDA program during financial literacy After completing the financial literacy component participants interested in an IDA account are screened for eligibility. Participants will join the IDA program or be put on a wait list until more funds are available The Process ….

9 9 Who is eligible Income eligibility: 200% of poverty 2:1 match 80% Federal Median Income 1:1 match Must have current or history of intimate partner violence. Participants must have earned income in household (SSDI, informal, formal, wages) Household net worth cannot exceed $10,000 Must be able to save $10-50 per month or lump sum

10 10 Women’s Savings Accounts (Individual Development Accounts) Current banking partner is US Bank Participants save up to $2000 and receive up to $4000 in match funds Matching Funds: AFIA & Local contributions Accounts: 2:1 or 1:1 match Accounts are custodial

11 11 –Similar Guidelines –Participants can save up to $1500 over 2.5 years –Will receive 2:1 or 1:1 match depending on income level –Allows ROW to access more match funds –Initially awarded 15 additional accounts –By July 2003, ROW will have 34 open IDA accts New Partnership with Great Rivers Community Trust and United Way

12 12 IDA Guidelines Allowable Assets oHome ownership oAutomobile oCareer Enhancing Education oRetirement ( local) oMicro-enterprise IDA Guidelines

13 13 Women can save for one or more of the eligible assets Women can make multiple withdrawals throughout their involvement in the IDA program Must be in program at least 6 months IDA Guidelines cont…

14 14 IDA Guidelines Must deposit $10-$50 every month Can lump sum deposit: bonuses, tax return, etc. Cannot miss 3 deposits in a row… Can take a leave of absence from program Must meet with staff at least every other month Emergency withdraws allowed IDA Guidelines cont…

15 15 19 Current Participants Savings Goals (7) vehicle 1 also saving for small business 1 also saving for education (12) homeownership 2 also saving for education Asset Purchases (2) vehicles $2176 (2) Post Secondary Education$331 (4) Micro-enterprise$535 Stats on REAP IDA Accounts

16 16 Recruit women and open accounts Provide the financial education and asset education component Encourage women to meet their savings goals each month through phone and individual advocacy Provide advocacy services around DV issues Problem solve and find resources with women regarding housing, employment, food, utilities, etc. IDA Coordinator's Responsibilities

17 17 Set up electronic data transfer from local bank to get women’s monthly savings goals Enter data into MISIDA. Send out monthly statements to women showing their total savings in program. Facilitate the matched & ER withdrawals IDA Coordinator's Responsibilities

18 18 The END……

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