PathStone teaches how to save for home
By Zach Osowski
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON — Brian Carman spends time at the Anderson Public Library every week. But he’s not there, like the average patron, to read books, check out DVDs or use a computer.
Carman’s job is teaching people how to better manage their finances. Most of his classes are at the library. Every year about 50 Madison County residents attend classes taught by Carman.
Carman is a home ownership counseling manager for PathStone, a local organization that offers instruction in money-saving basics for people in Delaware and Madison counties. Many of his students, especially those attending a class to learn about buying a home, would be classified in a 2014 report from the Indiana Association of United Ways as Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE).
About 28 percent of Madison County residents belong to the ALICE category, according to the United Way report.
Carman said the title of the first-time home buyers class is a little misleading.
“It’s more of a class for people who want to buy a house but are a long way off from that,” Carman said, “whether that’s because of bad credit or just a non-existing savings plan.”
PathStone, a not-for profit organization, walks people through money-saving basics, such as what kind of savings account to open at a bank. The instruction might seem simple to many, but his students generally have little or no experience managing money.
“A lot of them don’t even know the basics of asset building,” he said. “So we walk them through just about everything, from savings plans to how to improve their credit.”
PathStone goes beyond offering advice, to offering financial incentives. In addition to helping people set up an account, Carman said, PathStone will match every $1 his students save with $3. The money to make the matches comes from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, as well as from Assets for Independence, a federal funding source.
“We have them goaled at something simple, like $25 per month,” Carman said. “And if they do that, we match it with $75. So in four months, $100 can turn into $400, which is huge for a lot of people.”
Part of the agreement is that the money is earmarked for specific uses that will increase the students’ quality of life, such as paying for a car or tuition at an online or technical school.
That way, Carman said, the money goes toward something that helps keep students on the right track.
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