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AFI Fact Sheet

Published: September 17, 2014
Assets for Independence (AFI)
About, Fact Sheet



To demonstrate and support an assets-based approach for increasing the economic self-sufficiency of low-income individuals and families.

Legislative Authority: 

Title IV of the Community Opportunities, Accountability, and Training and Educational Services Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998, P.L. 105-285. It was amended in December 2000.


In FY 2015, $18.95 million
In FY 2014, $19.026 million

Eligible Applicants:           

Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status; state, local, and tribal government agencies applying jointly with a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status; and community development financial institutions and low-income credit unions that are federally certified and demonstrate a collaborative relationship with a local community-based organization whose activities are designed to address poverty.

Target Population:            

AFI program eligibility guidelines are as follows:

  • Members of households eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program when they apply for enrollment in an AFI project; or
  • Persons who meet both of the following criteria:
    • Their household adjusted gross income is equal to or less than twice the federal poverty line or within federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) limits; and
    • Their household net worth (excluding primary residence and one vehicle) does not exceed $10,000 at the end of the last calendar year before the enrollment determination.


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. AFI participants use their IDAs and matching funds for one of three allowable assets: purchase a first home; capitalize or expand a business; or fund post-secondary education or training.  AFI grantees also provide training and support services to participants, such as financial education; credit counseling and repair; and guidance in accessing refundable tax credits.

Type of Grant:                   

Competitive Discretionary Grant

Program Requirements:   

Grantees must provide non-federal funds for the project equal to the AFI grant amount. Eighty-five percent of all project funds must be used to match participant savings and purchase an asset. The remainder is used to support data collection, to provide financial education and related services, and to administer the project. AFI projects are five-year grants.

Program Highlights:          

In FY 2014, the AFI program awarded 44 grants totaling $9.97 million. Awards ranged from $12,000 to $1 million. Two of these awards were part of the Native Asset Building Initiative (NABI), a partnership with the Administration for Native Americans to support asset building in native communities.

Program Contact:              

Assets for Independence, OCS

AFI Resource Center