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Savings and assets play an important role in economic stability and upward mobility for families with low incomes. To help households with low incomes build assets, the federal government launched the Assets for Independence (AFI) program, authorized by Congress in 1998. This program funded individual development accounts (IDAs) that matched personal savings for assets such as a first home, capital to start a business, or higher education and training...

This report presents first-year findings from an evaluation of the Assets for Independence (AFI) program at two sites — Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, NM and RISE Financial Pathways in Los Angeles, CA.

Findings show that the AFI program increased low-income participants’ savings after one year. There is also evidence of a range of several beneficial secondary impacts, including reductions in material hardship and improvements in perceived financial well-being...