Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Welcomes Applications for Assets for Independence (AFI) Demonstration Program

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Community Services (OCS) welcomes applications for the Assets for Independence (AFI) Demonstration Program. AFI enables community-based nonprofits and government agencies to implement asset building projects serving low-income individuals and their families. The awards of up to $1 million cover a 5 year project period.

AFI grantees enroll participants to save earned income in special-purpose, matched savings accounts called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Every dollar that a participant deposits into an AFI IDA is matched (from $1 to $8 in combined federal and non-federal funds) by the AFI project, promoting savings and enabling participants to acquire a lasting asset.

AFI participants use their IDAs and matching funds for one of three allowable assets:
  • Purchase a first home; 
  • Capitalize or expand a business for self-employment; or 
  • Fund post-secondary education or training.
AFI grantees also assist participants in obtaining the skills and information necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Grantees are encouraged to tailor the strategies and services they offer to the needs of their project participants and the opportunities in their community. Examples of activities in this area include financial education, asset-specific training, financial coaching, credit-building services, credit/debt counseling, and assistance with tax credits and tax preparation.

To learn from examples of asset building, register for a special webinar on using AFI for Building Economic Opportunity in Low-Income Neighborhoods on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 2 p.m. ET. Hear from BCJI grantee Northwest New Jersey Community Action Partnership (NORWESCAP) about how asset building contributes to their community building and crime reduction efforts in the Phillipsburg - Parnassus Neighborhood.

The deadline to apply for the AFI Funding Opportunity is June 15, 2015. To view information about resources, trainings, and other assistance for grantees and potential applicants is posted on the AFI Resource Center website.

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