November 18 2010 Ycabc Minutes

MINUTES
(November 18, 2010)

Present: Michele Besso (NWJP), Dave Gilbreath (CCCSYV), David Hacker (VISTA Supervisor/Lutheran Public Policy Office), Steve Loeb (VISTA), Liz Mitchell (AARP), Liz Myntti (Columbia CAP, by phone), Amy Peters (211/PFP), Bill Stevens (AARP)

Call to Order: Dave Gilbreath called the meeting to order at approximately 9:30AM.

Agenda: The agenda was approved as presented.

Minutes Review/Approval: Minutes from the October 18, 2010 meeting were approved as written.

EITC Committee Update: Blanca, from Nuestra Casa, has agreed to hold an event for potential volunteers. We will hold this on Tuesday, Nov 23rd and promote it to potential volunteers. There is some confusion on their end to their role as a tax site —- Michele Besso agreed to follow up on this. We will ask Marilyn to confirm if any of the new potential volunteers are from Sunnyside. We have an agreement signed with Heritage University to do taxes there and we have the details with the Goldendale site figured out. There was a discussion about educating the public about the new rules for private tax preparers and we agreed to discuss further in subsequent meetings.

Bank on Yakima County Update: Some Bank On partner financial institutions have agreed to put tax site promotional materials at their banks. We are challenged by some financial institutions not participating in Bank On meetings and programs. HAPO Credit Union has dropped out of the Bank On program. As a result, the financial incentive program has been delayed until January, 2011.

Update on VISTA Sponsorship: David Hacker confirmed that most of the Yakima County VISTA Team has already started. Applicants for the supervisor position are still under review. The replacement VISTA for the YCABC is being recruited through e-grants. We hope to have someone in place to allow some overlap with Steve before his term ends on/about Jan 21, 2011.

Monthly Budget Review: Steve provided a budget update and reported we have spent approximately $3,000 of our nearly $25K operating grant. The first quarter of 2011 (Jan-Mar) will be time period when most of our expenditures will occur—many related to advertising expenses related to the EITC program and incentives for the Bank On program.

Legislative Update: The WABC finalized its legislative priorities for 2011. EITC Outreach and Local Asset Building Coalitions remained the top priority with State funding for IDAs and funding for Savings Reward moving higher on the list. Dave reported the WA Asset Building Coalition has confirmed the annual State ABC meeting is being held in Yakima June 21-21.

Home Ownership/Foreclosure Prevention Housing Fair: Dave reported the HUD sponsored housing fair held recently in Granger was very well attended with over 300 households participating; the fair included 3 education seminars throughout the day on first time home buying and foreclosure prevention; seminars overflowed with standing room only crowds attended by over 100 interested individuals.

IDA Teleconference: The last half of the meeting (10:00—10:30AM) consisted of a teleconference with Liz Myntii from Cowlitz CAP to help educate our ABC about IDA programs. The basics of the IDA program, and allowed areas of State and Federal Funding, were discussed. State funding has fewer limitations than Federal funding. Staffing needs are high for an IDA program, and takes a dedicated person at a financial institution and social service agency, but earnings are not high enough to fully fund this person. There are challenges around having a financial institution agree considering this, but a selling point for them is that IDA accounts can never overdraw. IDA accounts have to be free and FDIC insured.

The biggest challenge on the social service agency is monitoring the account and making monthly reports. If a deposit isn’t made 3 months in a row, the account is dropped from the program. The client receives only the money that they personally deposited at that point. Liz has experienced a high attrition rate, with about 40% dropping out. IDA accounts are usually a 4 year program, so to keep it full, she keeps a waiting list of people ready to go back in should anyone drop out. Clients must attend an asset-specific training on entering the program. Lead agency needs to be a 501c3, and it is best to do an extensive intake process. Credit scores are gathered at intake —- some places deny a client due to credit score, Cowlitz does not.

Partnerships with other social service agencies in the specific asset area that a client is interested in, as well as financial institution partners, are critical. Many credit unions are interested, US Bank is interested, and Chase is interested (WA Mu was on board before the takeover). You want to give customers a choice, but it is easier to manage if there are accounts at fewer places

The state will allow up to 20% of the grant as an administrative cost, while the federal government allows up to 15%. There is a federal bonus when a client purchases an asset.

For a federal requirement, clients must be at no higher than 200% of the poverty level or no more than 80% of median area income according to federal guideline calculations. They also have to work at least one hour per month. These requirements are only at the start of a program.

Cowlitz has 100 accounts, some places start with as few as 15-20. We want to start small.

ITIN is accepted for IDA accounts. There are issues around credit and having an ITIN number instead of a Social Security number, however.

The grant is for a 4-5 year period. It can be hard to fill spots towards the end of a cycle when clients drop out, because of the rapid rate of deposits that a client would have to do.

AFI (federal grant) requires that you have a non-federal source of funding, except for CDBG funding, which is allowed.

Following the teleconference, everyone agreed we need more information before we can make a decision on IDAs. This includes what local organizations are available to provide expertise to manage the program and what are possible sources of match funding (if state funding is not available). Steve reported that more information on IDAs is available at www.IDAresource.org.

Next Meeting: The meeting adjourned at 10:35am. Next Meeting: Thursday, Dec 9, 9:30-10:30AM at People for People.

Recorded by,

Steve Loeb
Americorps VISTA