Economic Empowerment Program

A lack of financial stability is one of the biggest deterrents for women who are considering leaving an abusive relationship. Leaving the economic security of a home, income, and benefits is more than many survivors of domestic violence can fathom – especially if they have children. In 2002, KCADV’s Economic Empowerment Program took root when the directors of KCADV’s 15 member programs identified helping survivors become economically self-sufficient as a top priority.

The first step was creating an Individual Development Account, or IDA, program. IDAs are restricted savings accounts designated for a specific asset goal. Participants in KCADV’s Classic IDA program pledge to save for a home, education, or small business, and their savings are matched 4:1. As of September 2016, about 132 account holders from KCADV member programs and community partners are receiving financial education and one-on-one financial coaching while they save for a long-term asset. Nearly 503 participants have used their funds to purchase a home, fund post-secondary education, or start or expand a small business. The Car IDA program helps domestic violence survivors purchase reliable transportation to improve employment and housing opportunities, by matching savings dollar-for-dollar up to $2000. Approximately 64 survivors are currently enrolled, and 135 have purchased cars with their savings and earned match.  At the start of 2016, KCADV introduced a new Matched Savings IDA program that provides a 1:1 match up to $200 for survivors to establish an emergency savings account or use towards other expenses.

Continue Reading