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Asset Builders of SWLA Wants to Help More Small Business Owners, Potential Homebuyers

Homeownership, Business Capitalization Programs both opening up to new clients

Post Date:01/08/2020

Asset Builders of Southwest Louisiana is known for helping residents in the five-parish area with low-to-moderate incomes to save to buy homes. Through its Business Capitalization Program, Asset Builders has also helped dozens of existing business owners capitalize on their investments.

Asset Builders is opening both programs to accept new clients.

A partnership of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury’s Human Services Department, Project Build a Future, the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University, Asset Builders’ programs are partially funded through the Calcasieu Parish Public Trust Authority and other local agencies. Matches are handled through Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) run by Asset Builders of Southwest Louisiana, along with a partnering bank. Partnering financial institutions include the Southwest Louisiana Credit Union, JD Bank, and First Federal Bank of Louisiana.

“The Asset Builders Program has been a tremendous success. Not only have we developed new partnerships and strengthened existing ones to administer the program, we have impacted over 60 low-to-moderate income individuals and families in our area,” said Tarek Polite, Director of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury’s Human Services Department. “Our focus on financial literacy has empowered those individuals to secure or grow assets that will help them to achieve economic stability.”

Recent improvements to the program will make it accessible to even more people within the community, making this resource available to those who may not have been eligible before. Due to the new eligibility criteria, Polite strongly encourages everyone who is interested to apply for the program.

Those accepted into the programs would open IDAs to save for homes or to capitalize on their existing businesses. IDAs are savings accounts that match the deposits of participants - up to a pre-determined maximum. The match amount for homeownership participants is 4 to 1. Participants save $1,000 and receive $4,000 in match, for a total of $5,000. The match amount for business capitalization participants is 8 to 1. Participants save $500 and receive $4,000 in match, for a total of $4,500. The match program can last anywhere from six months to one year.

Those eligible for the home ownership program are residents in the five-parish area who meet the following criteria: They must have an adjusted gross income not in excess of 125 percent of the area median income, the ability to attend all required classes, be able to commit to participate in homeownership counseling, and the ability to make monthly deposits into their IDA.

Those eligible for the Business Capitalization Program are business owners in the five-parish area who meet the following criteria: They must be at least one year active in business, have an adjusted gross income not in excess of 125 percent of the area median income, have a business banking account, EIN, Schedule C (if applicable), occupational license (if required by their local government) and they must attend a series of CORE Four Training classes. They must also work with program staff to ensure that they have an approved business plan and have the ability to make monthly deposits into their IDA.

Residents interested in applying for either program, can pick up an application at Project Build A Future, 2306 Third St.in Lake Charles, or contact Christian Thomas (business owners) or Alyssa Hebert (homeownership participants) at 337-439-7191 or via email at christiant@projectbuildafuture.org or alyssah@projectbuildafuture.org. Applications will be processed in the order they are received.

For more information about the program, visit www.assetbuildersswla.org

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