Tacoma Housing Authority and Heritage Bank received recognition for the Children’s Savings Account program by the Affordable Housing Consortium (AHC) at the 6th Annual Excellence in Affordable Housing Awards Celebration, which was held on Oct. 20th at the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma. Those on hand to present the awards were Connie Brown, Executive Director of the AHC, Charlie Gray, President of the AHC Board, U.S. Representative (10th District) Denny Heck, Mike Yoder, Associated Ministries, and Maria Harlow of Financial Insights.
The awards celebration honored outstanding local people and organizations that are helping curb homelessness and providing safe, healthy, affordable homes. The AHC honored awardees in four categories:
Community Impact – Shelly Hu and Mark Jiang
Innovation – Access Point for Housing Team
Advocacy – Connie Ladenburg, Pierce County Councilmember
Sustainability – Heritage Bank & Tacoma Housing Authority
The AHC had this to say about THA and Heritage Bank:
“This year we are recognizing a different kind of sustainability: Helping kids build assets to pay for qualified education or training programs after high school graduation through a Children’s Savings Account (CSA). For students living in THA’s New Salishan community and registered at Lister Elementary School in Salishan, THA opens a Heritage Bank savings account and deposits $50. THA will match deposits up to $400 each year until the child completes fifth grade with an account of up to $4,850. Students who go on as sixth graders at nearby First Creek Middle School can set up a savings reward system driven by incentives developed with their school counselor, like improving school attendance and taking college-prep courses. Every time a student meets a goal, partners like Heritage Bank deposit money inter their account. Kids can earn up to $700 per year through high school graduation. Combining these elementary, middle school, and high school opportunities can total up to $9,750 in savings by high school graduation. Heritage has committed $500,000 to help ensure the program’s success. From 2016 through 2022, the partnership will help fund savings for about 80 students from kindergarten through 12th grade, plus an additional 60 middle school through high school students.
The AHC provides community education and advocacy to represent its members in expanding opportunities for nonprofit corporations and others to finance, produce, and manage housing for low-income people.