ROAD TO OPPORTUNITY:  FINDING THE WAY FORWARD
March 28, 2019
DID YOU KNOW: Free Tax Prep Sites Help Reduce Poverty
  • 10% Poverty Rate and 14% Child Poverty Rate in MA according to the Federal Poverty Line. 22% are "Near Poor" and 27%

     Children "Near Poor" in MA (up to twice federal poverty rate)

  • Most low-income families (2/3 of those in poverty) include a working adult.
  • 44% of Americans cannot cover a $400 unexpected expense.
  • Nationally $459M in tax credits ($60M in MA) were returned to low-income families through Community Action Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Sites. 
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) have kept 150,000 people out of poverty in MA. 
For more information and to access the data, "Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward" published in May 2018

Learn more! Watch our webinar feauring report author, Nancy Wagman, Kids Count Director, MassBudget.
POLICY MATTERS: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance   #VITA Sites Crucial in Bridging Wage Gap
The state support and funding for policies and programs that create opportunity is critical.  We are advocating for policies that strengthen families, bridge the wage gap, create economic opportunity and strengthen the human services infrastructure. 

Please join us in supporting these FY20 policies and line items that help bridge the wage gap:
  • Increase Resources for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program Sites (1201-0100) - $800,000
  • Expand State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to 50% of Federal
The Impact of VITA:
  • 80 VITA sites in MA serving +30,000 annually
  • +1,300 Volunteers give +40,000 hours donating +$2M in tax prep services
  • VITA = great investment with ROI of 60:1
  • Access to Earned Income Tax Credit #EITC and Child Tax Credit #CTC: $60M in tax credits returned annually
  • VITA is FREE - saves taxpayer cost of preparation
  • VITA links taxpayers to the other critical services
  • VITA promotes savings and financial literacy
There are an estimated 75,000 unserved in MA.  Funding for VITA sites would allow for expansion of services.

In addition to our priorities listed above, these include: state fuel assistance resources, a line item to strengthen communities and support Community Action Agencies, accessible and affordable early education and care and homelessness prevention through support for homeless youth.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: VITA Helps Family Buy First House
One Holyoke family is grateful to the Valley Opportunity Council (VOC) VITA site this year.  With the help of the IRS certified tax preparation volunteer (and VOC Director of Programs) Melissa, they are able to make the down payment on their first house.  This family with 2 young children and 2 working parents who have been saving for some time left smiling. This year, between their refund and the money they saved on the tax prep, they now have enough to finally make that purchase.  
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION 
We thank MA Legislators for supporting our budget request for $30M in MA state FY19 supplemental budget for FUEL ASSISTANCEWe are urging the Governor to fully allocate this desperately needed resource this year.

Visit  heatinghelpma.org for more information about fuel assistance and the agency serving your area.
 
We urge you to support the FY20 priorities so that together we can move forward on the road to opportunity.  Visit our Public Policy Priorities page for more information.
COMMUNITY ACTION IN MA

Our Mission
To strengthen and connect the statewide network of Community Action Agencies and collectively advocate for an end to poverty.

Our Vision
All MA residents will be able to meet their basic needs, access economic opportunities, build strong communities and move toward prosperity...

Find your Agency
There are 23 Community Action Agencies in Massachusetts serving virtually every city and town in the state.   To locate the agency in your area and learn more about the programs they offer,  click here .

Read our 2017 Annual Report
                                              #End PovertyMA