Right now, 30% of local households are not able to meet their basic needs or plan for the future. The outlook is even worse for emancipating foster youth.
One major reason for this is people lack access to proper financial management tools and financial education. From bank services to budgeting to savings and debt management, exposure to basic financial information is the foundation for long-term financial stability.
When we strengthen the economic future of one family, we strengthen the economy for the whole community. To do this, United Way is working to ensure 10% more households in our region will be financially stable and self-sufficient.
Our $EN$E-ABILITY project works with low to moderate-income households and foster youth to help them manage finances and increase savings. We are also helping local qualified families and individuals file their taxes online for free while bringing crucial EITC (earned income tax credit) dollars back into our local community.
So far, 88% of adult participants are demonstrating better financial skills and now have savings accounts.
90% of foster youth participants are earning credits toward matched savings accounts.
United Way is also leading the Assets & Opportunity Network, mobilizing a group of nonprofits, companies and volunteers to look at financial stability data in our community and work on key tasks to increase the number of individuals who are financially thriving.
Together we can change the odds and improve lives.
We are in the works of building our team of certified nonprofit partners who will be the integral forces creating change and bringing to life our vision of stronger and more compassionate communities through our education, financial stability and health initiatives.
United Way’s $en$e-Ability project offers important tools and coaching to low-moderate income households and foster youth to create money management plans. With a plan in place, families can have a stable home and plan for the future.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is national and offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations.
Locally, United Way California Capital Region and our partners offer KeepYourTaxRefund.com to help local residents save money during tax season. In 2014, we had 490 tax returns completed saving our community thousands of dollars in tax preparation fees.
Marina learned the hard way that the old saying is true: Sometimes you can’t go home. Marina’s childhood was marked by addiction – her parents’ addiction and her own. Fortunately, her probation officer saw her perseverance and determination and sent her to Koinonia Homes for Teens.
As a foster youth at Koinonia, Marina turned her life around, due in part to Koinonia’s participation in United Way’s financial stability initiative, which includes our $en$e-Ability project that helps foster youth become financially literate and build savings accounts for when they move out on their own.