Individual Development Accounts

Refugee Community Services

Buying your first home or car, starting a business, or returning to school can be stressful for anyone. For refugee families, there are added stressors with communication and learning about U.S. finances. LSI’s Individual Development Accounts (IDA) program provides financial education to former refugees as they build their new life in the U.S.

When Shougar Guma moved to Des Moines from Turkey, many things were new and unfamiliar, including the U.S. banking and finance system. As an IDA program participant, Guma took an eight-hour financial literacy course and learned to make a budget and build good credit. He recently finished an asset-specific program on purchasing a car, and he hopes to one day purchase a home.

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Program Specifics

Participants must have arrived through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, and must not yet be U.S. citizens.

Participants must have lived in the U.S. for fewer than five years, or fewer than three years for those who wish to purchase a vehicle.

Participants must have earned income from employment or self-employment, with a household income that does not exceed 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Participants’ household assets must not exceed $10,000, excluding the value of a residence and one vehicle.

To learn more about this program, contact Benjamin.Spick@LSIowa.org.

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