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.
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.
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.
Now more than ever, our community needs you, your energy, passion, and commitment. Let’s work together as first responders to meet our community’s greatest needs.
In July, United Ways of California published a new report Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015. The report measures the true cost of living in California’s communities and the hardships households face in meeting them. It uses the Real Cost Measure, a basic needs budget model that estimates the amount of income required to meet basic needs for a given household type.
There are some fundamental success indicators we look for in financial stability work. On the quantitative side, we want to know if our participants are increasing their income, savings and credit scores, and decreasing their debt and use of predatory financial services. Qualitatively, we work with them to improve their sense of capability and confidence when it comes to their relationship with money.
We measure all of these things, and we file our reports, and you can see our collective success on paper. But out in the world, we love when spontaneous things happen that fall outside the usual evaluative box and exceed our expectations.
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 myfreetaxes.comto 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.
Untied Way’s certified nonprofit funded partners are the integral forces creating change and bringing to life our vision of stronger and more compassionate communities through our financial stability 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.