To our readers: The AAA Fair Credit Foundation is based in Salt Lake City and is a partner with AARP Utah on teaching how to save and plan for the future. This is one story about a family they helped through their Individual Development Accounts Program. We thought it was a heartwarming example of what planning for the future can do for a family.
My name is Derrick Duncan. In 2013, my wife Kendra and I rented a home in Provo. I graduated from SUU with a bachelor's degree in 2009 and had not been able to find steady work since. We had 5 wonderful children, but with no job, I had to accept aid wherever I could.
We were receiving food stamps, Medicaid, and rent assistance through the Section 8 program. I worked temp jobs and taught as a substitute teacher to make ends meet. This is not the situation I expected to be in four years after graduating from college. When we were going through the Section 8 seminar, we learned about the IDA program.
At the time, I wasn't sure exactly how we would use it. The requirements stated that we could use the matched savings from our IDA for education, starting up a business, or buying a home. I looked into going back to school. We considered sending my wife back to school. We tried our hands at starting up three separate businesses without success. Considering our financial and employment situation 3 years ago, we never really thought that buying a home was a real possibility. But we believed in our future and so we saved.
As the end of our savings term approached, the situation became even more disheartening. I knew that in order to secure a mortgage, I would have to have a secure job for six months. In the summer of 2015 I had no such job, and we were barely able to make the savings requirements for the IDA program. But we believed in our future, so we kept saving.
In August 2015, my belief had worn out. I was struggling with another business venture and had been worn out by failed job interviews. I didn't believe in our future anymore. But we kept saving, if for no other reason than habit.
On August 15, 2015, I got a call. Shortly thereafter I got a job. It was in a field that I had never considered, but it was steady and I was eager for the opportunity. That was almost exactly 6 months before the end of our IDA program.
In November 2015, we began looking for a house. With my pay rate, we knew that we wouldn't be able to afford much, but we began looking. Then I got a raise.
We found a Realtor and Loan Officer who started working with us and everything started feeling real. The end of our savings term with the IDA came to a close and we found a house. We were able to afford the down payment because of the IDA savings program.
When we began the IDA program in 2013, the idea of buying our own home was a distant dream. Three years later, we have developed the habit of saving and we are getting ready to move into our new home. We have learned how to manage our money, we have learned how to save even when it is hard, we have learned how to work toward a long-term goal, and we have learned again how to believe.
The UIDAN program and our IDA accounts have blessed our lives. You have not only given us the means to purchase a home. You have given us our dreams back. You have helped us to start a new life. To us, you are the hands of God. We thank you for your charity and generosity and will strive to see that it does not go to waste in our lives or in the lives of any that we can touch because of what you have given us.
Derrick & Kendra Duncan