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Program lends a helping hand

Interfaith Housing expands services in Barton County

POSTED February 25, 2012 5:38 p.m.
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Courtesy photo/

Jewell Radke, left, studies a budgeting and fin...





A program that helps low- and moderate-income families move away from government and social service assistance is expanding its services into Barton County.

Jewell Radke of Great Bend is the first local participant in the Creating Assets $avings & Hope program offered through Interfaith Housing Services Inc. This program will match $2 for every $1 she saves, and with that money Radke will be able to replace the roof on her home.

The brick three-bedroom home on McKinley St. was new when Radke’s parents purchased it in 1956. A few years ago she used another IHS program to help weatherize that home by adding insulation, fixing the storm windows and HVAC, and replacing a door. Now she has saved $2,000 in an account at Farmers Bank and Trust NA, and with the $4,000 matching funds will be able to replace the roof.

Getting signed up for the program was fairly straightforward, Radke said. "There’s an application. You have to meet income eligibility, and you have to take the (budgeting and finance) class. Radke works as a cashier at Walmart, and since she has her daughter and four grandchildren living with her, she qualified IHS’s Individual Development Account program.

Lorna Moore, CA$H program director, guided Radke through the one-day budgeting class at the Catholic Social Service office in Great Bend. Since she is the first Barton County participant, the lessons were one-on-one. "Lorna couldn’t have been nicer or more professional," Radke said. The course information was useful, and Radke hopes more people will hear about the program. "This could help a lot of people."

It isn’t just for homeowners. Emily Hurst, director of development at IHS in Reno County, said this program can be used to help someone purchase a first home, make repairs to a home, continue education or training, or start or expand a small business. IHS provides education, resources, support and encouragement along the way. Research backs up IHS’s claims that the Individual Development Accounts help graduates of the program become more financially stable households as entire families begin saving for their future, building assets and improving financial habits.

Interfaith Housing Services is a faith-based non-profit organization founded in Reno County over 20 years ago. The Kansas Department of Commerce has asked IHS to expand programming into more Kansas communities. With the generosity of local donors across the state, IHS is expanding into 26 counties in 2012. Tax credits are available to donors.

To learn more about Interfaith Housing Services visit its website at

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