I hear much talk from the younger generation today about purchasing their first home. It is exciting to hear how they progress through the process, from initially talking about it, working hard on their savings and actually going through the steps of purchasing that first home. An individual will not make a bigger purchase than that of a home, whether it’s his first or fifth.

I was talking with Lacy Stauffacher at Interfaith Housing Services in Hutchinson, and she was sharing with me about one of the many wonderful things going on at Interfaith, one of them being the CASH program.

CASH stands for Creating Assets, Savings and Hope, and its mission is to empower individuals and families to develop and maintain solid financial foundations. The vision is to infuse the following healthy financial habits: the ability to regulate spending in order to increase household cash flow, to manage debt and leverage credit in order to maintain positive credit profiles, to implement intentional savings in order to gain security and protection for the future, and to make disciplined decisions in order to execute financial plans and reach financial goals.

Buying a home requires saving and discipline – as Johnny Cash would say, walking the line. One of the programs that is part of CASH is the IDA program, which stands for Individual Development Accounts that help individuals save for a first home, a college education or significant repairs to a home. If that sounds like something you could be interested in, then listen up.

What is required is for you to complete an online financial education class. Qualifying households must have earned income that would fall below 200 percent of the poverty level. You must save a minimum of $20 a month for at least six months, and you can take up to four years to reach your goal, and money deposited into this account will be matched 2-1 by Interfaith Housing. This could mean a married couple could have almost $10,000 available for purchase with only an investment of $3,250. For college, that would be $6,000 with a $2,000 investment on your part.

Again, all that is needed to receive the 2-1 match is for you to complete the online course, complete four, one-hour life skills workshops, save monthly for a minimum of six months and present an invoice for a qualified asset purchase. Not bad for setting your goals and working hard toward them. If this sounds like something you are interested in, give Jackson Swearer a call at (620) 662-8370.

Other programs available with CASH include the home-repair program. Qualified homeowners can open up an IDA account that will be matched 3-1 by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation for emergency repairs. If this sounds like something that might interest you, I would encourage you to visitwww.cashkansas.org for more information. These are just two of the great programs available with CASH, and it’s one of the many great things going on at Interfaith Housing.

A couple of quick snippets before I wrap up today’s column. As I wrote this column, the Kansas City Royals were up 1-0 in this year’s World Series. What a great game that was Tuesday evening – or should I say night or early morning? It was a classic game in the truest test of a sports champion. A season that begins in April and that will end in November. I encourage everyone to catch the games and watch these professionals at their best.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend a retreat with my fellow Hutchinson USD 308 school board members, along with Superintendent Shelly Kiblinger and members of her leadership team. I want to say thank you to every employee of the district and the other districts here in Reno County. To be employed in the field of education is special, and it takes special individuals to make it all come together. I was impressed with the leadership team, as I, along with my peers, learned a lot. We are fortunate to have Dr. K. and her staff here in Hutchinson.

Special thanks to my daughter Rebecca, who filled in for me last go-around with her column, as she let me take a break and watch the Royals game while she typed away.

Last but not least, it is Halloween on Saturday, so watch out for all of the little ghosts and goblins as you are driving around town.

Born and raised in the Air Capital and a proud resident of the Salt City since 1985, Rodriguez is in the human resources field in the wireless industry.