There may be no such thing as a free lunch but there’s definitely such a thing as free help when it comes to getting your financial situation on track and moving toward home ownership.

In High Point, the Housing Development Group, a local non-profit that helps people stand on their own financial feet, has gotten together with the city to initiate a program meant to get people back on the right financial track.

It’s called the Individual Development Account Program – “IDA” for short – and it is being billed as “a comprehensive 6-12 month program that helps participants prepare for homeownership.”

The program enables the participants to establish savings accounts that will be matched with up to $7,000 to be used for their purchase of a first home. As part of the process, the participants are required to complete economic literacy and homebuyer education classes, and they’ll also be encouraged to – and expected to – clean up their credit.

In addition, they’ll have to establish a budget and a savings schedule conducive to sensible long-term money management.

Those who want to participate will no doubt have some questions so the Housing Consultants Group, together with the City of High Point, is hosting an information session about the IDA program on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. The free event, which is open to everyone, will be held at 804 Lindsay St. in High Point.

The program includes long-term budget planning that requires the participants to track all their spending, and it also includes monthly sessions with someone called an “IDA Success Coach.” All of the classes in the program are taught by professionals in real estate, lending and banking who are dedicated to helping others become educated consumers.

The Housing Consultants Group was established in 2004 as a 501(c) 3, nonprofit. Its stated mission is “to increase and improve financial capability and enhance the potential for wealth creation through investing, banking, financial relationships and homeownership.”

The group’s mission statement continues: “Services are tailored to assist diverse populations based on demographical statistics to assist adults –particularly the unemployed, underemployed, dislocated workers, unbanked and under-banked populations – in learning the basics of handling their money and finances, including how to create positive relationships with financial institutions.”

The Housing Consultants Group provides services to families in the Piedmont Triad area, In this new initiative, the City of High Point aims to serve as the catalyst for “bringing together the community’s human, economic and civic resources for the purpose of creating the single most livable, safe and prosperous community in America” according to a press release sent out by High Point about the program.

Anyone seeking more information about IDA may call Robin Morgan at 336-850-4043.