Family Savings may be matched

Local families may be eligible to have their contributions to a Family Savings Account matched up to $2,000.

A partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and PNC Bank has made available the Family Savings Account program, administered by Forest Warren Economic Opportunities Council (EOC) and various other local organizations.

The program, said EOC Grants Administrator Jeanne Fralick, is an opportunity for families at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and with less than $10,000 in assets not including a primary vehicle or residence, to be matched dollar for dollar by PNC Bank when they successfully complete the program. For a family of four, 200 percent of the FPG is a total household income of no more than $48,600.

Fralick said that participants enrolled in the program will be given an individual savings plan and goal, and will be set up to work with appropriate community supports. If a family would like to save money for purchasing a home or starting a business, for example, Fralick said they may be given pre and post purchase counseling through EOC or given help writing a business plan through PNC. Those hoping to save money for school or vocational training could enter the program and be given training by Higher Ed, she said. “It really just all depends on what the goal and the plan is,” said Fralick, who added that budgeting and other financial education is available through the EOC with or without being enrolled in the Family Savings Account Program.

A total of 10 hours of financial coaching or education is required, and those participants identifying a goal of starting a business will be required to complete a business plan prior to accessing the savings, Fralick said.

Whatever a family has saved by the end of the program will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $2,000. A family that saves $2,000, for example, would get an extra $2,000 added to their contribution after successfully completing the program.

The program is only open until April of 2018. “With less than 18 months before the program closes,” Fralick said, “families would want to be registered for the program before that so that they’d have enough time to save.”

To find out more about the program and be screened for eligibility, families can set up an appointment with Frederick Barney, Warren Forest EOC Community Builder, at (814) 726-2400 ext. 3037.