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Offering the budgeting basics

A new program offered by NeighborImpact HomeSource offers financial coaching for individuals and families


by: KEVIN SPERL - Errin Noland works at Pack, Ship & More and bought a home using Homesource's 3-to-1 savings program.

For Prineville's Errin Noland, the 3-to-1 match program made it possible for her to move into her new home last July.

Designated as a Habitat for Humanity family, Noland was able to secure the down payment needed for the home by saving $130 each month for seven months.

"I would not have been able to have a house without that program," she said. "Coming up with that amount of money on my own in that time span would not have been possible."

As part of her commitment, Noland attended a variety of financial courses, learning how to manage her money.

"It is only me and my daughter," she said, "HomeSource definitely taught me a lot about budgeting."

Now that Noland has secured a home for her family, she has enrolled in the program again, putting away, at least, $25 each month.

"I want to go back to school," she explained, "There is no timeline yet, but, when I decide to go back, that money will be there for me. "

The 2013 tax season wraps up today and NeighborImpact wants people to turn their attention to saving more money.

Founded in 1985, NeighborImpact is a private, nonprofit organization serving Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties. The organization offers community-based services in a variety of areas that includes child care, energy cost assistance, weatherization programs, a food bank, low-interest home repair loans and money management programs.

A consumer finance survey sponsored by the organization found that 29 percent of Americans would be unable to repair a vehicle, pay medical bills or offset the loss of a job. The people found to be the most impacted are low-income workers, minorities, and young adults.

To help manage their money, the NeighborImpact HomeSource program offers financial coaching and opportunities for individuals and families to learn about credit and budgeting, money management skills, and the importance of saving for a rainy day.

"NeighborImpact's goal is to help families build the necessary tools to avoid a major financial disaster," says Lynne McConnell, NeighborImpact's associate director of HomeSource and Assets. "None of us can predict when a crisis might hit so it's essential to be prepared."

One of the most attractive ways to save money is to enroll in the program's matching savings account program. Individual Development Accounts allow individuals and families to save money for a specific goal, including buying their first home, making repairs or improvements to an existing home, starting or expanding a small business, or paying for college costs or job training.

For every $1 saved, the program matches with $3 -- save the maximum amount of $2,000 and realize an additional $6,000 of matching funds for a total $8,000.

For Prineville's Errin Noland, the 3-to-1 match program made it possible for her to move into her new home last July.

Designated as a Habitat for Humanity family, Noland was able to secure the down payment needed for the home by saving $130 each month for seven months.

"I would not have been able to have a house without that program," she said. "Coming up with that amount of money on my own in that time span would not have been possible."

As part of her commitment, Noland attended a variety of financial courses, learning how to manage her money.

"It is only me and my daughter," she said, "HomeSource definitely taught me a lot about budgeting."

Now that Noland has secured a home for her family, she has enrolled in the program again, putting away at least $25 each month.

"I want to go back to school," she explained, "There is no timeline yet, but, when I decide to go back, that money will be there for me. "

The program is limited to those earning 80 percent, or less, of their county's median income and who have a net worth of less than $20,000. The median income of a family of four in Crook County is set at $48,550.

But, the overall HomeSource program does not ignore those earning higher incomes.

While the survey found that low-income families are often hit hardest, even higher-income earners lack adequate savings. Fifty-two percent of families earning less than $40,000, 24 percent earning between $40,000 and $60,000, 15 percent making up to $100,000 per year, and 11 percent earning more than $100,000 have no savings at all.

"While the data shows lower-income families are more at risk, this issue impacts all income levels. The great thing about NeighborImpact's HomeSource program is that we help families financially succeed no matter what their income might be," explained McConnell.

Other services offered by the program include one-on-one credit/pre-mortgage coaching, available to anyone dealing with credit problems or preparing to become a homeowner, money management skills training, financial planning and money management, saving and investing, other financial services and understanding & managing credit.

For those hoping to purchase a home, HomeSource provides buyer education programs and workshops that provide the information and skills needed to prepare for home ownership. Topics include preparing a spending plan, improving credit, finding and working with the right professionals and how to care for a home.

Those unable to attend an in-class workshop have the opportunity to "enroll" online, via the programs eHome course. Based on the "Realizing the American Dream" curriculum, the online class takes approximately eight hours to complete. Once completed, a HomeSource of NeighborImpact housing coach will provide one hour of individual coaching, resulting in a home buyer education workshop certificate.

To determine eligibility for any of the programs offered by the HomeSource initiatives, contact NeighborImpact at 541-416-0107, stop in at their office, located at 203 N.E. Court St., visit www.neighborimpact.org or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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