The United Way of Greater St. Louis is talking up its role in a pilot program designed to help teens and young adults who are homeless or aging move out of the foster care system. It’s an expansion of a match savings plan known idea originally launched in the late 1990s, which has people save their own earned income, take financial education classes, and receive individual budget and credit counseling.
Cassandra Kaufman, Director of the United Way’s Community Investment Division, says a partnership with other parties in the St. Louis area put the Individual Development Account program could help at-risk youth the way it has helped adults. The maximum time in the program for participants is 18 months, with each of the participants asked to set a goal of saving one-thousand dollars in a year. The amount saved is then matched with money contributed to the program.
The program began with a small number of participants – less than 40. Kaufman acknowledges the results have been mixed in that they have been positive for those in foster care, but there have been problems involving those who are homeless.