The organization will only accept applications from individuals who have not already completed the program.
OR (March 19, 2019) NeighborWorks Umpqua is announcing a change to its matched-savings Individual Savings Account (IDA) service, Dream$avers. When the application process opens on April 1, 2019, NeighborWorks Umpqua will only accept applications from individuals who have not previously graduated from the program. This change to the application process is due, in part, to a report generated by NeighborWorks Umpqua’s data analytics service, Muninn Analytics. The data showed that while repeat graduates greatly benefitted from engaging the program multiple times, their participation made it harder for first-time participants to enroll. By changing the program’s application criteria for 2019 and doubling down on supporting first-time users through the process, the organization hopes to increase the number of people who graduate successfully, thereby having a greater impact on our local economies.
“Dream$avers is one of our most popular services because it has the ability to help our underserved community members build assets,” said Carlos Gomez, IDA Program Manager. “By matching an individual’s savings 3-to-1, the organization has been able to help community members start businesses, go to school, buy a new vehicle, buy a home, and much more! We decided to take a closer look at some of our client data and discovered that our first-time applicants weren’t succeeding at the same rate as our repeat graduates. This discovery lead to an internal discussion about our organization’s commitment to promoting equity, and how we can serve the greatest number of people.”
Dream$avers is a matched savings service that is a part of Oregon’s Individual Development Account (IDA) Program. Individuals who qualify for the program save for a particular goal (for example, buying a car to go to work or a home) and NeighborWorks Umpqua matches the funds saved at a 3-to-1 rate up to a maximum of $12,000. By putting a temporary moratorium on repeat users, NeighborWorks Umpqua is hoping to increase the number of people who engage successfully with the service.
“Dream$avers is a program that is intended to help people save and learn what goes into the process of working towards financial goals,” said Carlos. “If you go through the program and graduate, our hope is that you have gained new skills and habits in financial and goal planning for future endeavors.”
Although in 2019 we will not be accepting applications from program graduates, we encourage anyone to check out the other services we have available. We offer home repair grants, small business development opportunities, mortgage brokering, homebuyer education and financial coaching.
If you are a first time applicant or were unable to graduate from the Dream$avers service, you can apply to the Dream$avers program beginning April first by going to www.nwumpqua.org/dreamsavers. For more information on the program changes, reach out to Carlos at 541-673-4909.