Asset Building Policy in the United States. Ms. Josephine Bias Robinson Director, Office of Community Services Administration for Children and Families U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Role of Assets in Economic Security and Independence.
Ms. Josephine Bias Robinson
Director, Office of Community Services
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
# members in household
# hours worked
# workers from household
ONE POLICY LEVER: INCREASE HOUSEHOLD INCOME VIA INCREASING WORKER CAPITAL (AFI does this via enabling education and small business development)
Adequate Income and
Household Income minus ConsumptionorInadequate Income and
Assets for Independence (AFI)A Federal IDA Program
Federal program that provides five-year AFI grants that enable participants to use IDAs to acquire a first home, capitalize a small business, and pursue postsecondary education and training.
AFI projects work with clients to open IDAs and provide basic financial management training and supportive services.
Participants are individuals who meet one of the following criteria:
They are eligible for income support through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families;
They are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit and have household net worth of less than $10,000 (excluding a residence and one vehicle); or
They have household incomes of less than two times the Federal poverty line (Federal poverty line was approximately $21,000 for a family of four in 2007) and have household net worth of less than $10,000 (excluding a residence and one vehicle)
Participant savings are matched at rates between $1:$1 - $8:$1, depending on the provider and the asset to be purchased.
Through Fiscal Year 2006:
Participants opened 36,077 IDAs, depositing a total of $31,508,293 in earned income.
11,029 participants had withdrawn an average of $3,839 in savings and match funds for purchasing an asset.
AFI in Action: AnewAmerica
AFI funded project serving low-income new citizens, immigrants, and refugees living in the San Francisco Bay area of California.
“promote the long-term economic empowerment of new Americans - new citizens, immigrants, and refugees - and to encourage their full participation in the political, social and cultural growth of America.”
Participants are provided with three years of customized services that includes business development, asset building, and social responsibility.
Since the establishment of the program:
103 small business startups and expansions were achieved
155 new jobs have been created in these businesses
110 accountholders have accumulated $416,972 in savings and earned match
24 families have purchased 20 homes with a combined value of $9,175,500.
AnewAmerica Community Corporation (2007). Annual Report 2006. Berkeley, California.
Beverly et al. (2008). “Determinants of Asset Building.” Report prepared by the Urban Institute and its collaborators for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).
Caner, A. and E. Wolff (2004). “Asset Poverty in the United States: Its Persistence in an Expanding Economy.” Public Policy Brief, no. 76. The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.
Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (2003). “Asset Building and the Escape from Poverty: A New Welfare Policy Debate.”
Sherraden, M. (1991). Assets and the Poor. A New American Welfare Policy. New York: M.E. Sharpe.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services (2007). Report to Congress. Assets for Independence. Status at the Conclusion of the Seventh Year.
The Office of Community Services is an office within the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The mission of the office is to work in partnership with states, communities, and other agencies to provide a range of human and economic development services and activities which ameliorate the causes and characteristics of poverty and otherwise assist persons in need. The aim of these services and activities is to increase the capacity of individuals and families to become self-sufficient, to revitalize communities, and to build the stability and capacity of children, youth, and families so that they become able to create their own opportunities.
AnewAmerica's mission is to promote the long-term economic empowerment of new Americans - new citizens, immigrants, and refugees - and to encourage their full participation in the political, social and cultural growth of America. The organization was founded in 1999 by a group of community leaders representing immigrants and community development advocates who saw a continuing lack of integrated job creation, asset development, and community empowerment strategies for low-income new Americans living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
CFED is a nonprofit organization that expands economic opportunity. Established in 1979 as the Corporation for Enterprise Development, CFED works to ensure that every person can participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the economy by bringing together community practice, public policy, and private markets. Access tools, resources and policy reports on IDAs and asset building strategies. http://www.cfed.org/imageManager/IDAnetwork/IDAs___Spanish.doc