Financial Wellness Partnership Update
August 2021
United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona circulates this monthly newsletter focused on financial wellness topics. In this edition, learn the latest about our recent focus team meetings, new eviction legal resources, financial security research, and more.
Save the date for our next Financial Wellness Partnership meeting
Thursday 8/26, 1-2:30pm

Join us for a presentation from Dan McDonald, Director of the Take Charge America Institute for Consumer Financial Education and Research and Extension Specialist in Financial Education. The meeting will also include program and project updates from partners, focus teams, and United Way's Financial Wellness department.

All interested individuals in the community are welcome to Zoom in and join.

Email Lisa Floran ([email protected]) for more information.
Updates and Research
Focus Team Updates
Our Financial Wellness Partnership currently hosts two focus teams. The first, the Collaborative Referrals team, works on projects to make referrals and services from multiple organizations easier on participants and nonprofit staff. By improving referral processes, the group aims to help households better meet their full range of needs and achieve higher levels of financial wellness. The second group, the Public Policy team, works on educational efforts in service to financial wellness advocacy and systems change. Through these efforts, the public policy group aims to build environments where optimal financial wellness is easier for all to pursue and achieve.
Collaborative Referrals Team
Last week, the Collaborative Referrals team hosted a demonstration of the new Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) closed loop referral system developed by Health Current, NowPow, and AHCCCS. The demonstration helped local partners start envisioning how the platform, currently in its pilot phase, could improve connections between organizations, increase communication to participants, and facilitate secure information sharing. This team will continue discussions about the platform and other strategies, such as a simplified referral form, at their next meeting.
Next meeting: Thursday 8/19 at 10am
Public Policy Team
At our August meeting, the public policy team started reviewing our draft list of 32 groups, committees, and coalitions involved in financial wellness advocacy in Pima County and across the state. We discussed what we want to know about each group and mapped out a plan for collecting that information. This list will serve as one aspect of a landscape scan, helping us understand where efforts are and are not currently underway and which groups to engage on different financial wellness issues. We also took time to touch on current policy issues, including funding for K-12 financial literacy efforts, the federal budget, and emerging Census data about potential impacts of the Child Tax Credit. At the next meeting, we will check in our stakeholder list and talk about potential outreach.
Next meeting: Wednesday 9/8 at 1pm
All are welcome to participate with our focus teams. If you would like to get involved, email Lisa Floran: [email protected]
Program Spotlight: Emergency Eviction Legal Services (EELS)
A new program offered by Pima County offers free court representation to qualifying low-income tenants at eviction hearings. Through the Emergency Eviction Legal Services (EELS) program, individuals will also be connected with resource navigators to assist with the process and connect them with opportunities for rental or utility assistance, affordable housing, or workforce development. The program is available for individuals who have received an eviction notice. Pima County is working to contact people with eviction notices by phone, email, and directly at their court hearing in order to let them know about the service and supplement other outreach.
Learn more about the program and how to access it: Pima County Emergency Eviction Legal Services
Advance Child Tax Credit: Should You Opt Out of Monthly Payments?
Should your family opt out of monthly payments for the Child Tax Credit and receive the full amount at tax time instead? According to our tax experts at United Way, opting out of monthly payments may not be a good idea for some individuals - particularly those who may owe federal or state taxes, student loan debt, child support debt, or other government debts. Their understanding is that those individuals are eligible to receive the 50% Advance CTC, but any part of the CTC claimed at tax time will not be paid out but, rather, applied to any debt owed. In other words, taxpayers with federal or state debt that agree to receive 50% of the CTC in advance (through regular monthly payments from July through December 2021) will forfeit only the second half of this credit, which is payable at tax time, while those opting out of the ACTC and waiting until tax time to claim the entire CTC are likely to forfeit the credit at 100%.  
Helpful websites and more information

  • Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021: The main IRS webpage with updates, additional links, and answers to FAQs about the CTC.
  • Manage Payments/Update Portal: Use this portal to check enrollment status and processed payments; additional features, such as the ability to edit personal information, will be added in coming months.
  • Non-Filers Tool: Individuals who did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020 but should be eligible for the credit can enter their information here.
  • Helpful overview from The White House – includes different eligibility scenarios to help people understand how the changes may affect them.
  • Free Tax Assistance Resources: Visit United Way’s VITA page for local tax assistance resources, year-round. You can also find tips around navigating missing payments here. 
Research: The State of Financial Security 2020
Last year, the Aspen Institute's Financial Security Program published an evidence-informed framework for thinking about household finances. In their report, the Aspen authors identify three essential building blocks of financial security: routinely positive cash flow to cover expenses and allow for savings; personal financial resources to support household resilience, wealth, and well-being; and public and private benefits that can provide a functioning safety net to fill in gaps in the current economic system and protect individuals against financial catastrophes. (In many ways, their framework reflects our Partnership's definition of financial wellness!) The report also includes timely data about the financial wellness of households nationwide and principles to consider in any future work - give it a look if you are interested in learning more about financial wellness strategies for rebuilding.
Resource Corner
Woman peeks over a book in a library surrounded by books
Reading List
Resources and Opportunities
Funding Opportunity: Lyons Children's Refugee Assistance Program and Phil and Carol Lyons Family Fund Grants - Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, both deadlines 8/20/21

BIPOC Community Managed Loan Fund - 0% Interest Microloans up to $10,000 for for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs and business owners; apply by 8/20/21

Job Posting: Financial Wellness Project Manager, United Way of Tucson and Southern AZ

Job Posting: VITA Volunteer Engagement Manager, United Way of Tucson and Southern AZ

Fintech, Racial Equity, and an Inclusive Financial System - Federal Reserve of San Francisco, 8/25, 10am
Additional Information

What Tenants Need to Know During COVID-19 – Robust list including rental assistance, eviction protection/moratorium, and legal assistance resources compiled by Pima County

Eviction Prevention Resources - The Tucson Pima EPP portal for rental and utility assistance is still open, working with a network of 10 nonprofits to distribute relief funds from the City of Tucson and Pima County. Tenants are encouraged to sign up for the waitlist in order to be considered.

*NEW* Pima County Housing Search - Searchable database of affordable rental housing, supported by Pima County

2-1-1 Eviction Assistance App - Answer a series of questions in approximately two minutes and receive detailed, individual, step-by-step guidance to about housing assistance and resources

AZ Eviction Help - Information about eviction processes, tenant rights, and resources for rental assistance, utility assistance, legal assistance compiled by the Arizona Bar Association

AHCCCS Vaccine Navigators - The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), in partnership with Crisis Response Network, announces a new COVID-19 appointment and transportation navigation program for Medicaid members. Now, Medicaid members who need assistance scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, as well as transportation to and from that appointment, can call 1-844-542-8201, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Vaccine Ambassadorship Toolkit: This toolkit from TPCH provides advocate resources related to accurate vaccine education and trauma-informed discussions about the vaccines with people experiencing homelessness.

AZDHS COVID-19 Website – Latest updates, closure and re-opening announcements, and data dashboard

Who is Your Person? Resources from National Healthcare Decisions Day - National Healthcare Decisions Day is a day designed to help raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for end-of-life healthcare decisions. The AZ End of Life Care Partnership is offering workshops with community partners all week – find a schedule and materials on their website.
The Financial Wellness Partnership seeks to improve the financial wellness of individuals and families by increasing accessibility to effective services, resources, and opportunities, and by influencing policy to
develop equitable, people-centered systems that support financial wellness.

View past newsletters and learn more about our programs here: United Way Financial Wellness

If you have questions or suggestions for future newsletters, please contact Lisa Floran, Senior Director of Financial Wellness Initiatives at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona: [email protected]