Duluth Savings Program Grabs Attention of National Researchers

By KBJR News 1

September 12, 2012 Updated Sep 12, 2012 at 8:29 AM CDT

For those who have climbed out of debt, the next question is: 'what's next?'

"It's great you're out of debt, now another great thing you can do is set up an emergency savings account," says Amy Lee of Lutheran Social Service.

Lutheran Social Services is helping people do just that with a program called, 'Get Saving'.

"They are not only getting rid of all that credit card debt and all that bad debt that was dragging them down, but they are also getting ready for retirement and they are taking that next step," says researcher Rebecca Rouse.

Rebecca Rouse is with Innovations for Poverty Action. The group has chosen LSS' pilot program to research how debt repayment interacts with savings.

"We're really trying to harness that habit formation that they've already created--that habit they've created with LSS--and turn that into a way to build emergency savings so that they have that nest egg, that cushion to fall back on."

Amy Lee of the Duluth LSS office, works with 'Get Saving' participants and says although it is great to play a role in world wide poverty action through this research, it is about much more than that.

"It's great to look at the numbers and say 'wow we really can do something great', but what's really important to us here at LSS, it's that client relationship, knowing we are helping them," says Lee.

All the research will be compiled by the end of December, and based on results, the 'Get Saving' program could inspire similar programs at other credit counseling agencies nationwide.