Money Monday - Military Homeownership Assistance Program

Mon, Nov 12th, 2018

The Military Homeownership Assistance Program is available through the Iowa Finance Authority.   Eligible service members and veterans can receive a $5,000 grant for down payment and closing costs on a qualifying home purchase.  Eligible service members may access the Military Homeownership Assistance Program to be used with a qualifying mortgage or cash purchase transaction. The Military Homeownership Assistance grant may also be combined with a Plus grant for a total of $7,500 of down payment and closing cost assistance for borrowers who qualify for both programs. Borrowers are limited to one-time use of a Plus grant and one-time use of a Military Homeownership Assistance grant.

  Eligibility

  • Have served 90 days active duty between August 2, 1990 and April 6, 1991 or September 11, 2001 to present. Active duty need not be consecutive; it may be cumulative. Inactive Duty Training, Annual Training and Active Duty for Training may not count toward active duty; or
  • Is a federal status injured service person having served in active duty August 2, 1990 and April 6, 1991 or September 11, 2001 to present; or
  • Is a surviving spouse of said eligible service person, all who have had a discharge other than dishonorable.

AND

  • Receives prior approval before closing on a qualified home.
  • Utilizes an IFA Participating or Facilitating Lender and IFA first mortgage (if financing the purchase).
  • Utilizes an IFA Participating Lender to receive a non-IFA first mortgage if IFA deems it economically feasible and financially advantageous. At this time, IFA will approve a grant with non-IFA financing if the lender demonstrates that such

  Eligible Homes

  • The home must be located in the state of Iowa and must be purchased by the eligible service member.
  • The home must be immediately occupied by the service member/spouse as the borrower’s primary residence.
  • Single-family residences (including “stick-built” homes, modular homes or manufactured homes).
  • Condominiums
  • Townhomes
  • A property containing up to four units, if one of the units will be the primary residence of the service member

  Application Process

Contact a Participating Lender today to determine eligibility and begin the application process.

Typical forms usually needed to establish military service include:

  • A copy of a valid DD Form 214 (Member 2 Form or higher)
  • Four months of leave and earnings statements or other documentation that may be required and government issued photo ID. Cash financing is also available, please contact the military homeownership team for details.

  More Information

Funding for this program is provided by state appropriation and is subject to funding availability. Assistance is awarded in the order in which completed applications are received. Assistance awarded pursuant to the program is personal to their recipients and may not be assigned. An eligible service member shall receive assistance only once, and only one award per home purchase.

For housing and financial assistance contact Center For Siouxland's office at 712-252-1861.  WE CAN HELP!

 

Money Monday - Facebook Breach - What to do Next

Mon, Nov 5th, 2018

Facebook recently announced the largest data breach in the company’s history. The breach affected about 50 million users, allowing hackers to take over their accounts. If you use Facebook, you may be wondering what to do next. Here are a few steps you can take.

First, you probably want to know more about the breach. According to Facebook, the attackers took advantage of a weakness in the “View As” feature, which lets people see what their profile looks like to others. The hackers stole digital keys that keep you logged in to Facebook, so you don’t need to re-enter your password every time. Facebook says they’ve fixed the vulnerabilities and reset digital keys on 50 million affected accounts, plus an additional 40 million accounts that used the “View As” function.  To better protect yourself after this breach:

  • Watch out for imposter scams. With access to your Facebook account, hackers can get a lot of information about you. That information could be used to impersonate people you know or companies you do business with. If someone calls you out of the blue, asking for money or personal information, hang up. Then, if you want to know for sure if the person calling you was really your family member or was really from a company you know and trust, call them back at a number you know to be correct before you give any information or money. And remember: anyone who demands that you pay by gift card or by wiring money is scamming you. Always.
  • Consider changing your password. Facebook says that it fixed the vulnerability, so there’s no need to change your password. But, to be safe, log in and change your password anyway. If you use the same password other places, change it there, too. Don’t forget to change your security questions, as well – especially if the answers include information that could be found in your Facebook account.

For more information about what to do after a data breach, visit IdentityTheft.gov/databreach and watch the FTC’s video on What to Do After a Data Breach.  If you learn that someone has misused your personal information, go to IdentityTheft.gov to report identity theft and get a personal recovery plan. Because recovering from identity theft – and data breaches – is easier with a plan.  As always if you need assistance with any of your finances or budgeting call Center For Siouxland at 712-252-1861.  WE CAN HELP!

 

Money Monday - Is a New Car in Your Future?

Mon, Oct 29th, 2018

If a new car is in your future, you might first have some unfinished business with your old one.  While you're cleaning out your personal items, think about the personal information stored in the car's electronic system. 

Your car is a computer that stores a lot of information about you — just like your smartphone or home computer. When you sell or donate your car, that personal data might be accessible to the next owner if you don’t take steps to remove it.

Some cars have a factory reset option that will return the settings and data to their original state. But even after a factory reset, you may still have work to do. For example, your old car may still be connected to subscription services like satellite radio, mobile wi-fi hotspots, and data services. You need to cancel these services or have them transferred to your new vehicle.

Here are types of data you want to remove from the electronic system before selling or donating your car:

  • Phone contacts and an address book may have been downloaded when you synced your phone with your vehicle.
  • Mobile apps’ log-in information, or data that’s gathered and stored on mobile apps, may be stored in the car.
  • Digital content like music may be stored on a built-in hard drive.
  • Location data like addresses or the routes you take to home, work, and favorite places may be stored in your navigation system.
  • Garage door codes for your home or office may be on your system.

Besides the information stored on your vehicle, check to make sure you’ve cleared connections between your devices and the car as well. For example, car manufacturers may provide an app that lets you control the car’s functions or find the car — you should disconnect the app from the car when you sell it or trade it in.  For more information about resetting and removing your information, check your owner’s manual, contact your dealer, and visit your vehicle manufacturer’s website. 

For any type of financial or housing assistance WE CAN HELP.  Call Center For Siouxland's office at 712-252-1861 ext. 47.

  

Money Money – Medicare Card Scams

Mon, Oct 22nd, 2018

In a previous Money Monday we shared the news that Medicare is sending new cards to everyone who gets Medicare benefits, replacing your Social Security number with another number. As expected, scammers have been trying to cash in on this change.

These scammers typically reach out by phone and have tried a few different tactics. Sometimes, they claim to be a Medicare representative and ask to verify (steal) your information. Or they claim that there’s a fee for your new card (there isn’t). Others claim that your Medicare card was compromised, and you need to move your money from your bank into “safer accounts” (it wasn’t, you don’t, and following their advice means putting your money in their pockets). We’ve even heard of some scammers offering plastic versions of the card for a fee – even though the real Medicare cards are paper and there are no legitimate plastic cards.

How can you avoid these scams? Remember these tips:

    • Don’t give personal information to get your new Medicare card. If someone calls claiming to be from Medicare, asking for your Social Security number, bank information, or other information to get your new card, that’s a scam. Hang up. Medicare will never ask you to give personal information to get your new Medicare number and card.
    • Don’t pay for your new card. It’s yours for free. If anyone calls and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam. Hang up.

If you’ve already given out your bank account information over the phone, talk to your bank immediately. You’ll want to deal with any unauthorized activity on your account as soon as possible.  For more information about the new Medicare cards, go to go.medicare.gov/newcard.  And if you’re a victim of a scam, report it to the FTC.

 

Money Monday - We're Searching for VITA Volunteers

Mon, Oct 15th, 2018

Money Monday - We're Searching for VITA Volunteers

Tax Season is Right Around the Corner and Center For Siouxland is seeking volunteers for the upcoming tax season.

Center For Siouxland is a nonprofit human service agency that has partnered with the United Way and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to provide free basic income tax preparation and e-filing for low to moderate income individuals and their families in the tri-state area.  This program is not possible without the help of dedicated volunteers from the Siouxland Community.  We are seeking Tax Preparers, schedulers, greeters, and quality reviewers.  No prior experience is necessary.  IRS Certified!  Training is provided.

For more information contact Lori Scott, VITA Program Coordinator by phone: 712-252-1861 ext. 29 or email: lori.scott@centerforsiouxland.org

   

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