Financial Wellness Partnership Update
February 2022
United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona circulates this monthly newsletter focused on financial wellness topics. In this edition, learn the latest about our upcoming February meeting, focus teams, VITA services, poverty narrative research, and more.
Join us at our next Financial Wellness Partnership Meeting
Thursday 2/17, 1-2:30pm

This session will include two presentations --
  • Survey Findings - Eviction Prevention and Financial Stability: Brian Mayer, PhD and Professor in the University of Arizona School of Sociology, recently coordinated a phone survey of individuals who received Eviction Prevention Program funds from the City or County last year. His survey included questions about the household's financial situation before and after assistance, and their experience applying for support. Join us to learn more about the financial wellness-related findings and implications for our ongoing work.
  • VITA 2022: The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helped bring $22 million in refunds to low-and-moderate income Arizonans last year. Learn more about the benefits of this program and how qualifying households can find tax assistance in-person or online this year.
All interested individuals in the community are welcome to Zoom in and join! Email Lisa Floran ( to receive the link.
Updates and Research
Focus Team Updates
Our Financial Wellness Partnership currently hosts focus teams that meet between larger meetings to work on specific topics and actions:

Public Policy Team
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. This team met in early January to work on messaging that highlights needs and opportunities in our five areas of financial wellness (basic needs, savings, wealth-building, financial skills, and community engagement). We plan to continue working on the document at the next meeting. We also discussed resources related to state legislation tracking - suggestions of organizations providing education on financial wellness-adjacent policies include Children's Action Alliance and Civic Engagement Beyond Voting.
Next Meeting: Wednesday 2/9 at 1pm

Financial Coaching Team
Based on partner feedback, we plan to start a new group for focused conversations on financial coaching strategies and best practices. We would like for this group to start meeting in March. All are welcome, but this team is likely an especially good fit for individuals who lead financial education classes or sessions.
If you would like to be updated about the first meeting, email
All are welcome to participate with our focus teams. If you would like to get involved, email Lisa Floran:
Frameworks Report: Talking About Poverty
How do we talk about poverty and socio-economic status? As the Frameworks Institute notes in their recent report, Talking About Poverty: Narratives, Counter-Narratives, and Telling Effective Stories, "Most existing narratives blame people in poverty for their condition, reinforce racial and gender stereotypes, undermine support for needed anti-poverty programs and policies—or do all of these things. Creating a context for social change requires changing these narratives." Understanding existing narratives and exploring how to use new ones is one way that we can shift attitudes and build support for economic mobility efforts. The Talking About Poverty report offers an overview of major existing narratives around poverty: meritocracy, bootstraps, pathology of Black urban poverty, unfair system, and romance of poverty. It also presents some research-backed counter-narratives and suggestions about how to use them
Possible Counter-Narratives on Poverty, As Recommended by Frameworks Institute

  • Systems: Poverty exists because our economic system unfairly benefits some while failing others. Specific policies and collective choices have shaped systems; specific policies and collective choices can fix it.
  • Humanity: People in poverty are human beings whose dignity should be respected. We must recognize the reality of the poverty experience and prioritize addressing it.
  • Solidarity: Systems of economic and racial inequality shape our whole society and contribute to poverty. People may perpetuate economic, racial, and societal disparities by deliberate racial divisions. Working across differences and toward a common cause can help us achieve racial and economic justice.
Learn more about the emerging research on poverty narratives and messaging in the full report - Talking About Poverty: Narratives, Counter-Narratives, and Telling Effective Stories
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Services
Through United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, households earning up to $73,000 annually can access free, quality tax preparation from IRS-certified preparers. Support is available in three ways in 2022: online through GetYourRefund, DIY self-prep, and in-person appointments. Appointment booking is required for in-person sites and can be scheduled at All in-person and Valet VITA Tax Preparers will be fully vaccinated, including boosters, and will be masked. All taxpayers must show proof of vaccination and be masked at all times during any in-person meeting. If taxpayer can’t show proof of vaccination, we encourage them to use the GetYourRefund online service.
  • Learn more about VITA options for 2022, including in-person locations and how to book an appointment: 2022 VITA Webpage

  • Help spread the word: Access the electronic version of the 2022 VITA Flyer
Resource Corner
Woman peeks over a book in a library surrounded by books
Financial Wellness Resources for Southern Arizona
United Way Tucson Financial Wellness Resource List: Find programmatic and 1:1 opportunities for financial coaching/education, tax assistance, workforce development, and more on this list developed by United Way of Tucson and Southern AZ partners. You are also welcome to email Lisa if you want to talk through ideas or recommendations about what might be a good fit:

United Way Tucson Financial Wellness Volunteer Opportunities: Want to lend your time as a volunteer with a financial wellness program? See our list of opportunities to volunteer as a financial mentor, workshop facilitator, ESL teacher, and more.
Video Content from Million Stories Media
United Way of Tucson has teamed up with the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship to share valuable content focused on financial wellness. Million Stories, a project of the Singleton Foundation, is on a mission to make community members more financially competent. Their platform includes a host of entertaining videos and programming designed to share stories, lessons and information about personal finance. For example, their Your Brain on Money series features experts in the fields of neuroscience and behavioral finance discussing the psychology and biology behind how we think about money.

Many videos in this series would be a great addition to a financial wellness unit focused on personal values and feelings around money. One video of note: Playing Games Could Make You Rich — Science Proves It explores the brain science behind saving and profiles a gaming company using that science to change people’s habits. Given its ties to social media and online shopping, this video could be an especially good addition to a financial course or workshop for youth or young adults.
Reading List
Other Opportunities
Funding Opportunity - Economic & Workforce Development and Special Event Grants: The City of Tucson is accepting applications from Tucson-serving nonprofit organization intending to fund a workforce development or special event between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.The Office of Economic Initiatives will be hosting an informational pre-submittal meeting on Thursday, 2/10/22 at 4pm via Zoom. Applications due 4/15/22.

Funding Opportunity - Building a Downtown for Everyone: DTP's Social Justice Committee will review and award grants up to $2,000 to programs presented in Downtown Tucson that demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and reach communities not traditionally served by DTP.

Scholarship Opportunity - CFSA Scholarships: Community Foundation for Southern Arizona scholarships, including the CFSA General, African American Opportunity, and Marge Christiansen Gould Scholarships, are now open. All applications due 2/25/22.

Professional Development: Viable Insights recently shared a strategic planning and continuous quality improvement resource that they have made free for our partners – you can access it here via the coupon code FWP21.
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.

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

Arizona Homeowner Assistance Fund: The HAF program provides help for homeowners who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19 after January 21st, 2020. Homeowners can use HAF funds for the purpose of preventing the following: homeowner mortgage delinquencies, homeowner mortgage defaults, homeowner mortgage foreclosures, homeowner loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship.

*NEW* Order Free COVID-19 Tests: Go to, to order four tests per household. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days and will begin shipping later this month. Note that the Biden administration announced this month that private insurance companies will be required to cover up to eight home COVID tests per month. Under the new policy, Americans will be able to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement, up to the monthly per-person limit. A family of four, for instance, could be reimbursed for up to 32 tests per month. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit. Learn more here

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

Virtual Introduction to Striving Toward Racial Justice: Striving Toward Racial Justice offers resources and tips for local organizations to translate commitment to action and results
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: