Frequently Asked Questions

How does the IDA Initiative work?

The Oregon IDA Initiative was created by the Oregon State Legislature in 1999.  The funds are donated by individuals and corporations, and are available to qualifying individuals who want to build a better future for themselves and their families.  The Oregon IDA Initiative is a proven approach which provides skill building plus matching funds to help Oregonians achieve their dream of owning a home, starting a microenterprise, or continuing their education.

This successful collaborative effort relies on non-profit and tribal partners across the state.  Partners provide the skills and the Initiative provides the funds to help rebuild Oregon’s middle class, and, in the process, rebuild Oregon.

How does the match work?

Once the savings goal is reached and all parts of the savings plan are completed, every dollar saved by a participant is matched by the Initiative, typically with three dollars for every one dollar saved.  Initiative participants may benefit from matched funds to help them buy a home, get education or training, develop and launch a microenterprise, restore a home to habitable condition, or buy equipment to support an employment goal.

How much money can I deposit in my savings account?

You can deposit as much money as you want into your savings account.  However, the maximum match amount is $3,000 in a twelve month period.  If you save $1,000 and receive the typical match rate, you’ll have $4,000 to put towards your goal!

Do I have to deposit the same amount each month?

There is a minimum savings amount of $25 per month and you are expected to deposit what you set as your goal in your Savings Plan Agreement.  This is not always the same amount each month.  If you deposit a large lump sum, from a tax return for example, it might not always be matched.

Why does my match money not show up on my savings account statement?

The match money does not go directly into your savings account.  It is held in a separate account.  The match money is set aside for you and is available for you once you’ve built up your skills, developed your plan, and met your savings goal.

Do I have to pay taxes on my savings account?

IDAs allow you to accumulate savings tax-free.  The state of Oregon allows a deduction on your state tax return for deposits to your IDA through a designated non-profit IDA Provider.  Your IDA provider can refer you to someone to help you prepare your taxes.  Please read IDA Tax Information (PDF).

Will I be disqualified from the program if my income goes up while I am saving?

As long as your income levels qualify when you apply, you will not be disqualified from the program if your income increases while you are saving.  The goal is to help people improve financially, so if your income improves we count that as a success and hope that you do too!