MERCER COUNTY Agency, bank help people save for home

First National Bank of Pennsylvania is the program's local banking partner.
SHARON, Pa. -- Low- to moderate-income families looking to buy a home, pay college tuition or start a small business should contact the Mercer County Housing Authority.
The housing authority plans to offer free classes designed to teach people how to save money and put it toward those goals.
The program is part of the Family Savings Account Program, which was launched as part of Gov. Tom Ridge's Project for Community Building about a year ago. The housing authority introduced the concept Monday at a press conference.
"There are people, families, who are caught in a cycle where they are putting more and more money into renting properties," said L. DeWitt Boosel, housing authority executive director. "We want to break that cycle and give people a choice. Sometimes it's very difficult when you're caught in that cycle, when so much of your income is going to pay for your rent, that you have a hard time breaking [the cycle]."
Matches savings: The program, which is being administered by Pennsylvania Appalachian Capital Alliance, is a matched savings plan that has the state contributing money to the private bank accounts of low- and moderate-income families. The state will provide up to $300 to those families a year.
First National Bank of Pennsylvania has agreed to be the local banking partner. Participants must establish their savings accounts at that bank.
Eligibility is based on federal income and poverty guidelines. For more information, call the housing authority at (724) 342-4000.

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