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Refugee Double Money Savings Program

Individual Development Account (IDA)
Helping refugees save money to pay for a large purchase

An Unmatched Matched Savings Program


The Refugee Double Money Savings Program is an Individual Development Account (IDA) program designed specifically for refugees. An IDA is a one-to-one custodial account that allows refugees to save money and receive a dollar-for-dollar match from Catholic Charities to purchase an approved asset. 

The program’s intensive case management, financial and credit education courses, plus detailed set of program requirements helps refugees prioritize finances and education so that they can become financially self-sufficient and manage higher cost purchases without fear.

Since its conception in October 2016, the program has helped hundreds of refugees purchase big-ticket items.


  • Over $10 Million

    in assets have been purchased since the program began.

  • 56 Homes

    have been purchased for refugee families to live in.

  • 69 Vehicles

    have been purchased for consistent transportation.

  • 13 Students

    pursued higher education through local universities.

Statistics reflect 2016-2023 data. 

What Pre-Approved Assets Does the Program Match?


Vehicles to support consistent transportation


Individual or family home ownership


Post secondary educational costs

Additional examples of pre-approved assets are discussed on a one-on-one basis with a case manager during the initial enrollment meeting. Savings for the assets listed above (and others) are kept in the individual’s account. When the actual purchase occurs, matched funds are distributed by Catholic Charities in the form of a cashier’s check made payable to the vendor.

Enrollment Prerequisites:
  • Documented proof of refugee status
  • Must have resided in the U.S. for less than five years
  • Must not have previously received IDA match funds
  • Must provide I-9 employment verification forms, including:
    • A minimum of two month’s proof of income
    • Two most recent pay stubs
    • A past W2 or 1040 form from the previous year’s tax filing
  • Must not own assets larger than $10,000, excluding previous ownership of a house or vehicle; assets less than $10,000 must include any open bank accounts

How much is matched?

  • When an individual saves $2,000, $2,000 is matched for a total of $4,000.
  • When a household saves $4,000, $4,000 is matched for a total of $8,000.

*Instructions and more details for saving limits for individuals, households and even multi-generational households will be discussed with our trained staff professionals.

Requirements for Program Completion:
  • Participate in an initial information session with program staff
  • Arrange an appointment for application enrollment
  • Open an IDA custodial account, in accompaniment with a staff member
  • Must successfully complete an intensive financial education series
  • Complete asset-specific training relevant to the type of asset funds that are being saved for
  • Deposit a minimum of three consecutive monthly deposits
  • Complete ongoing one-on-one case management with trained staff professionals
  • Receive technical assistance throughout the asset purchase process
  • Must complete exit and post-purchase documentation, in accompaniment with a staff member

*Please note: While the entirety of the program is explained in greater detail during the initial information session, we may ask for the completion of additional, more specific tasks relative to an asset purchase during enrollment. 

Additional questions pertaining to asset costs, bank account enrollment and information, emergency withdrawals, tax filing status for singles or those with dependents and/or other inquiries may be answered by our trained staff professionals.

Hope Stories and Blog Posts about our Refugee Programs