Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matched saving accounts for low-income individuals to save for the purchase of an asset. As one of many national initiatives that encourage homeownership, this thesis explores how community-based organizations use this tool in concert with other community development efforts to not only help individuals purchase homes, but also help families maintain the asset. Unlike most research on IDAs, this thesis studies organizations, not individuals, as its unit of analysis because organizational capacity and decision-making greatly shapes the participant experience. Through the study of three community-based organizations that have IDAs as a component of their work, this thesis finds that the ability to 1) quickly establish trust through developing relationships and reputation, 2) respond to local housing markets and participant demand, and 3) connect to resources and services puts these organizations at the forefront of using Individual Development Accounts as a versatile economic development tool that is part of a larger agenda of creating communities and neighborhoods that can sustain healthy homeownership.
Project: American Dream Policy Demonstration (ADD)
Rice, S. (2005). From Individual Development Accounts to community asset building: An exploration in bridging people- and place-based strategies (CSD Research Report No. 05-05). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.