IV. Asset Building Programs
The mission of the Asset Building Department is to promote sustainable community and economic development by providing financial literacy training, housing, financing, and job opportunities and other related services to under-served, low-income populations and entrepreneurs. The activities of the department compliment and reinforce the goals and objectives of the Alliance.
Goals and Objectives of the Asset Building Program include:
- To increase money management skills and the ability to save
- To increase business ownership among low-income families
- To increase homeownership among low-income families
- To increase the percentage of low-income individuals who acquire post-secondary education
The activities of the department focus on:
- Developing sustainable resources to provide Individual Development Account Program (IDA) for the creation of wealth-building assets (i.e. home, post-secondary education and micro enterprise) among the low-income population.
- Developing and sustaining resources to provide small business training, financing and technical assistance to low-income people and minorities that wants to start their own business.
The strategy for economic development is to recruit existing and potential entrepreneurs from the low-income community and equip them with training, and provide them micro-loans and technical assistance in order to assist them to develop their potential and enhance their economic wellbeing thereby creating additional jobs and economically revitalizing the area and their community.
The economic development programs presently implemented by the department are the IDA program, the Micro enterprise (micro-lending) Program, the Financial literacy program. The IDA and Micro enterprise programs which have already secured funding from the Federal government, the State, and other private funding sources have been serving and continue to serve the low-income population of our community.
a. Individual Development Accounts (IDA) Program
Individual Development Accounts are a matched savings program that assists low-to-moderate income families and individuals in the Houston metropolitan area establish a pattern of regular savings with a goal of purchasing an asset of value. An asset of value is likely to return substantial benefits to its owner. These benefits are stability, security and opportunities for increased income.
The IDA participants may use their savings and match money towards any of three assets of value: a home, small business or a post-secondary education. Participant deposits are held at Bank of Texas and are matched using Federal grant funds. All participants also receive financial education classes in addition to asset-specific counseling in conjunction with their stated asset goal.
The Alliance currently offers two IDA Programs.
(i). IDA – Assets for Independence (AFI)
The Assets for All program is a special matched-savings account program to help low-to-moderate income refugee families and individuals in the greater Houston area. The match rate is 2:1 to the participant savings account.
b. Micro-enterprise / Micro-lending program
(i) The Refugee Economic Micro-enterprise Development Initiative
(REMEDI) is to provide credit to low-to-moderate income refugee entrepreneurs that do not have access from commercial sources. This program assists first time entrepreneurs with credit counseling, developing a business plan, small loans and mentoring.
The Core services of Micro-enterprise / Micro-lending Programs:
- Business development training
- On-going technical assistance
- Access to capital through micro-loans
All participants are required to take a course offered by SCORE on "How to Start a Business"
Loans range from $500 to $15,000
Fees: application fees and processing fees are minimal
The business must be registered/licensed
The loans proceeds are to be invested in the business
Credit history will be built as the participant remits their payment in a timely manner
(II) Small Business Administration (SBA Micro-Loans) for all legal residents
Alliance has now been approved to be a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) intermediary lender for the Microloan Program. We are one of two such microcredit lenders in Houston today. SBA’s Microloan Program provides small businesses with small short-term loans for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and/or equipment. SBA makes funds available to specially designated intermediary lenders, which are nonprofit organizations with experience in lending and technical assistance. Intermediaries like the Alliance then make loans to eligible borrowers.
The United Way of Greater Houston has generously agreed to fund the required Loan Loss Reserve Fund (LLRF) which makes our administration of this money possible. The Alliance is happy to support the mission of the SBA and to advance the interests of our clients through this program. This program will increase the capacity of the Alliance to reach out to low income potential entrepreneurs in our community, helping them to become the engine of our local economic recovery. For more information on SBA, visit www.sba.gov.
ALLIANCE-SBA MICROLOAN PROGRAM LAUNCHED
The Alliance officially launched the “Alliance-SBA” microloan program on 8/26/2020 at a workshop held in the Alliance Building at 6440 Hillcroft, Houston, Texas. More than twenty potential clients attended the introductory program workshop, completed and submitted the Eligibility Assessment form.
All existing or new potential Low-income individual entrepreneurs who require loans for startup or expansion of their businesses but are unable to obtain loans from conventional financial institutions, are invited to participate in the program. This program not only provides you the loan to start or expand you micro business but will also provide you the technical assistance and the mentoring required for the success of your venture.
If you would like to apply for a loan, you are first required to submit a hard copy of the completed and signed ‘Eligibility Assessment form’. The program staff will then assess your eligibility and, if you qualify, will give you a call to complete, sign and submit a hard copy of the ‘Application Form’
You may download the Eligibility Assessment and the Application forms from the following link.
The SBA Form attachments to be appended to your application (SBA Form 4- Schedule A, SBA Form 413, SBA Form 1624, and SBA Form1846) may be downloaded from the SBA website at the link below.
These forms are self explanatory and the applicant is advised to read the instruction for completing them. Applicants may contact the program staff if any assistance is required in this regard by E-mail email@example.com or call (713)776-4700 ext. 143, Fax (713)776-4730.
c. Financial Literacy
Financial literacy classes are offered to all participants in the IDA and Micro-enterprise programs. Participants will attend eight (8) weeks classes whose curriculum addresses The value of checking account, credit history, loans, and etc.