Bank of Hawaii
FHLB Des Moines Members: Bank of Hawaii
The Need: Studies indicate that one out of three former foster youth in Hawaii experience some sort of homelessness, higher than the national average of 24%. In addition, studies show that 67% of former foster youth are dependent upon public assistance in comparison to just 7% of their peers.
Key Players: Annie E Casey Foundation, EPIC Ohana, Inc., Hawaii Community Foundation, State of Hawaii, Bank of Hawaii, Hale Kipa, the Queen Liliukalani Trust and the Victoria S and Bradley L Geist Foundation.
The Results: The Hawaii Youth Opportunities Initiative provides support to help youth and young adults leaving foster care become successful, productive adults. As of July 1, 2017, 643 completed eight hours of financial literacy training and opened two bank savings accounts, with one being an Individual Development Account, which can be matched dollar for dollar, up to $1,000 per year based on the participant’s savings. Participants have made $823,000 in withdrawals for qualified asset purchases such as starting a business, paying rent, purchasing a car or attending college.
In an effort to improve the well-being of youth transitioning from foster care, a group of Hawaii partners established the Hawaii Youth Opportunities Initiative (HYOI). The initiative implements a broad set of strategies that include engaging young people, bringing together public and private partners, using data to drive decisions and galvanizing public support in order to improve policy and practice that supports former foster youth.
A piece of this strategy was the creation of an Opportunity Passport™, which features an Individual Development Account (IDA), or a matched savings account offered by the Bank of Hawaii. The objective was to help participants learn financial management, obtain experience with the mainstream banking system and save money for assets. With the IDA, participants can make qualified withdrawals, such as starting a business, paying rent, purchasing a car or attending college.
The program has already demonstrated positive results, with nearly 650 participants completing eight hours of financial literacy training and opening two bank savings accounts. Overall, participants have made $823,000 in asset purchases, averaging about $1,000 per qualified withdrawal.
Bank of Hawaii has been instrumental in making HYOI a success. The bank has helped finance the program and played a key role in the introduction of the Voluntary Care to 21 bill, which enabled foster youth to stay with their foster families until age 21, subject to them attending school, working or being disabled.