Be *Financially* Prepared!

A sometimes overlooked part of independence is being prepared for the everyday — and the unexpected. This includes financial preparedness.

For links to emergency food, housing and utility and energy assistance, see our Resources page. Finally, be sure to check out our Disaster and Emergency Preparedness page.

Personal Financial Management

If you do not have a budget and do not manage your financial resources adequately, you can find yourself feeling like your life is spiraling out of control. You may experience anxiety and stress trying to figure out how to pay a bill or buy food. Financial instability is a major threat to independence: it creates chaos and can lead quickly to crisis. If you have experienced this, you already know that it is not a good or comfortable way to live.

EOCIL encourages all individuals to develop a carefully balanced budget to reduce chaos and crisis potential. You can contact an Independent Living Specialist for assistance or access the following resources:

  • Tips, guides and “The Seven Baby Steps” to lay a firm personal financial foundation:
  • From the National Council on Aging, a site for to help find and apply for benefits and assistance:
  • If you have heavy credit card or loan debt and cannot make all your payments regularly, in full, and on time, you might want or need to consider specific actions.
    • From Money Magazine and CNN, a discussion of debt counselors — and why they may or may not be your best approach:
    • Contact a credit counseling company, such as Debt Reduction Services, EOCIL does not endorse any particular credit agency and recommends consulting the Department of Justice’s current approved list of credit counseling agencies operating in Oregon:

Tax, Mortgage and Other Special Situations

  • Tax preparation assistance
  • If you have a tax-related problem and have not been able to contact anyone directly at the IRS to work with you toward resolution, contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). TAS is an independent organization within the IRS.
  • Oregon homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages due to unemployment or a significant loss in income can turn to a new online resource. Under the Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative’s Mortgage Payment Assistance (MPA) program, the state will pay the mortgages of selected applicants for as long as a year, up to a $20,000 maximum. Learn more about this program:

The most carefully balanced budget can go by the wayside because of a single missed check or health emergency. Life happens, and EOCIL has established the Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA) Fund to provide short-term emergency financial assistance to individuals experiencing temporary financial crisis.

It is to be used to assist clients through temporary, out-of-the-ordinary emergencies that would affect client independence. The fund is made possible through donations, grants and fund raising. The EFA Fund allows the client to get through the emergency by working with an IL specialist to stabilize the situation and develop a long-term plan to prevent recurrence of the crisis.

Funds may be restricted donations or grants and maybe available only to specific disability groups or based on eligibility conditions placed by the donor.  EOCIL operates this program with the “Pay it Forward” philosophy of Benjamin Franklin; “I do not pretend to give such a sum; I only lend it to you.  When you meet with another honest man in similar distress, you must pay me by lending this sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity.  I hope it may thus go thro’ many hands, before it meets with knave that will stop its progress.  This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little of money.”

Contact an EOCIL IL Specialist for an application.

Individual Development Accounts (IDA)

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matched savings programs that enable families with limited financial resources to save and build assets. With an IDA, you identify a savings goal (amount and intended use of funds), and participate in financial literacy classes while you work toward reaching your savings goal. When you reach your savings goal, the IDA program matches your savings $3 for every $1 you saved. These funds, plus the money you saved, can then be used to pay for the assets you planned to purchase when setting up the IDA. Contact your local IDA providers listed below to find out more.

IDAs are available for the following assets:

  • Homeownership
  • Small business start-up or expansion
  • Post-secondary education or job training
  • Home rehabilitation or repair
  • Employment-related adaptive equipment, technology or specialized training

Housing Authority of Malheur County

Counties Served

Malheur, Harney

Service Areas

Housing, education

IDA Specialist

Karla Veloz
[email protected]

Lake County Development — OMEN Affiliate

Counties Served

Baker, Harney, Lake, Malheur, Grant

Service Areas


IDA Specialist

Ronne Lindsay
Phone: 541-947-5300
E-mail: [email protected]
PO Box 263
Lakeview, OR 97630

Treasure Valley Community College

Counties Served


Service Areas


IDA Specialist

Andrea Testi
Phone: 541-881-8822
E-mail: [email protected]
650 College Blvd
Ontario, OR 97914

Northeast Oregon Economic Development District

Counties Served

Baker, Union, Wallowa

Service Areas

Business, education, adaptive technology

IDA Specialist

Lisa Dawson
Phone: 541-426-3598
E-mail: [email protected]
101 NE First St., Suite 100
Enterprise, OR 97828

Be a Smart and Safe Consumer!

Whatever the season, wherever you live, scammers and financial predators are always a potential danger. Be informed!