Coach Resources

We've created this resource page to better support our volunteer coaches. Find a series of downloadable documents, useful online tools, and answers to questions you may have.

General IDA FAQs

Do I have to save every month?

Yes – you are required to save every month during the entire duration of the IDA savings period. The program is designed to get you in the habit of pro-actively saving toward assets and building wealth.

Can I do more than one IDA?

You are allowed to do up to two IDA’s in a lifetime.You are only allowed to do one IDA at a time. Up to two people in the same household can do an IDA at the same time.

What happens to the money if I exit the program early?

Any money you have saved is always your money. Match funds will remain with the program. To withdraw your funds, we will ask you to complete some exit documents.

Do I have to meet with a coach during the IDA program?

No, unless you would like to continue meeting with your coach to improve your financial situation or you have other areas you would like to work on.

For Home Ownership IDA’s, we highly recommend working with a Home Ownership Counselor throughout the savings program. They will help you create a plan and identify goals to help improve your credit score, pay down debts, increase income, and increase your down payment to secure an affordable home loan.

What happens if I don’t save all of the funds by the end of the savings period?

We would amend your savings goal and you would receive matching funds based on what you saved.

Can I just deposit the full amount and receive the match?

Unfortunately, no. The goal of the program is for participants to develop good saving habits. Making monthly deposits during the savings period is essential to the IDA program.

Will the program impact my eligibility for public benefits (SNAP, TANF, OHP, or Social Security)?

Saving in the program will not impact your public benefit eligibility, however, depending on your IDA objective, funds at the time of withdrawal may have an impact on some benefits. We advise that you check with your local benefits office for more information.

IDA Specific Questions: Home Ownership

Can I buy a piece of land with no house?

Unfortunately, no. You must purchase a habitable dwelling as part of the purchase.

What is a first time Home Buyer?

A first-time home buyer is anyone who hasn’t bought or sold property in three years. Exceptions include displaced homemakers, those losing their home due to divorce or domestic violence situations, or owners of manufactured housing.

Can I buy a tiny home, mobile home, or manufactured home?

Yes, however tiny, mobile and manufactured homes will likely depreciate value. It is recommended you consider this before committing to this type of housing.Additionally, these types of homes will require long term land lease agreements to meet IDA usage requirements.

IDA Specific Questions: Home Repair

What can I use the Home Repair IDA for?

Rehabilitation or repair work must be of modest materials and eliminate health & safety hazards, correct code violations, replace or upgrade major housing systems, or aid weatherization. Funds can also be used to make accommodations for accessibility. It cannot be used for general remodeling, building new structures, or work on non-habitable structures (garage, sheds, etc).

Do I have to wait to have everything done at the same time?

No, Funds become available after you have completed 6 months of savings and your education requirements. You can request withdrawals up to your available savings and matching funds for immediate repairs while continuing to save for future repairs.

Can I do the work myself or have friends/family help?

No. Due to program policies, you must use a Scope of Work and acquire 3 quotes and choose a contractor to complete the work.

IDA Specific Questions: Rental

Can I pay past due rent, utilities, or other past due expenses?

No. IDA funds must be used for current/future purchases including deposits, first month or continuing rent, utility deposits (no bills), moving costs, and basic furnishings.

Can I buy furniture or other household items?

Yes. You are allowed to use IDA funds to help purchase modest and necessary furnishings and household items like furniture, mattress, bedding, kitchen utensils, dishes.

IDA Specific Questions: Education

Can I use my IDA to repay Student Loans or past due tuition/book fees from previous terms?

No. IDA funds can only be used for current and future college terms.Funds can be used toward tuition, books, school supplies and computer provided the purchases are made at your campus bookstore.

Will it impact my other grants, scholarships?

It would depend on your scholarship. Some scholarships may have restrictions in receiving additional funding. Please review your scholarship rules.

Can it be used toward living expenses like transportation, rent, or other expenses?

No.It can only be used toward tuition, books, school supplies and one computer from your campus bookstore.

IDA Specific Questions: Small Business

Can I use the money to pay off my business loans or credit cards?

Unfortunately No. You must use your IDA funds toward future asset purchases.

What can I use the funds for?

IDA money can be used for equipment, working capital, parts for manufacturing products, merchandise to sell, and other typical business expenses. Some restrictions apply.

IDA Specific Questions: Auto

Can I use IDA funds to repair my vehicle?

Yes, however we recommend weighing the cost of possible future repairs and maintenance over the reliability of a newer vehicle.

What kind of vehicle can I purchase?

It is advisable you research vehicles that will be reliable and cost effective. Many mid-level vehicles require Premium gasoline and cost more to maintain and insure.

Social Services Map

If your client would benefit from additional resources such as food pantries, mental health/counseling, or legal services, this tool can help you easily locate them. This map groups organizations together based on the services they offer and allows you to search by zip code or need. It displays the address, phone number, and zip code of the service, and even display options for public transit.

Are you familiar with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

The Earned Income Tax Credit benefits working individuals with low to moderate income by reducing the amount owed on your taxes an potentially give a refund. Generally the EITC is given to individuals or couples who claim children as dependents, however some individuals or couples may qualify. To qualify for the EITC, an individual must have a taxable income and file taxes, be between the ages of 25-65, and fall under the income limits for that year.

The IRS cannot issue the return until mid-February, so it's important to have a plan in place! For more detailed information, please visit the IRS website.