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Thrivent, LSS will help poor in south Minneapolis save

Thrivent will match federal funds for new savings accounts

Two Twin Cities Lutheran agencies, working through a Lutheran umbrella consortium, “Faith in the City,” announced December 1 they are launching a new program to help low-income people save money.
Faith in the City, a coalition of seven area Lutheran organizations, has received two grants worth $1.4 million for the development of “Individual Development Ac-counts” (IDAs). IDAs are matched savings accounts for low-to-moderate income families. Half the funding is coming from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Community Services. It will be matched, dollar for dollar, with $705,882 provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) will administer the program through its Park Avenue facility in south Minneapolis. The IDAs will be offered to residents of the Phillips Neighborhood, in which the LSS Park Avenue office is located.
The program, “Phillips Saves,” is designed to encourage low-income residents to save money for long-term projects such as first home purchase, secondary education or investment in a business. The initiative will begin operation this month. For every dollar participants invest in an IDA, $2.00 in additional funds is invested in their savings account.
A spokesperson for HHS said the IDA program would help low-income citizens build a financial base for a stronger future.
Participants in “Phillips Saves” will be required to enroll in classes designed to help them learn the basics of good money management.
A Thrivent official told Metro Lutheran that the federal government would like to establish more such programs, but that willing private sector matching partners are hard to find.
Faith in the City combines the efforts of Thrivent, LSS, Central Lutheran Church, Augsburg College, Luther Seminary, Fairview Health Services and Augsburg Fortress Publishers.