Financial Wellness Partnership Update
May 2022
United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona circulates this monthly newsletter focused on financial wellness topics. In this edition, learn about our last network meeting, ongoing work from our focus teams, emergency assistance resources, and more.
Updates and Research
Network Meeting - April 2022
Our April Financial Wellness Partnership Network meeting brought together 35 individuals for presentations about United Way's Direct Care Workforce Resource and the UA Basic Needs Coalition. Madeline Guyott from United Way shared that Pima County is at a crisis-level shortage for direct care workers. They outlined the navigator model that United Way is using during this pilot project to recruit, retain, and place more direct care workers in the community. Promising practices identified during the Direct Care Workforce Resource project so far have included developing automated processes using Microsoft tools, incorporating incentives and appreciation events, launching an action team that combines care workers and employers, and strengthening a network of provider contacts.
In our second presentation, Dani Carillo, Dan McDonald, and Bridgette Riebe provided an overview of the UA Basic Needs Coalition work to date and findings from recent surveys and focus groups with UArizona students. Key insights included that 1 in 3 surveyed students reported food insecurity, an issue that was especially exacerbated among students reporting housing insecurity. Students reported confusion over eligibility requirements and where/when to find available resources, as well as guilt or embarrassment around using resources. Student recommendations included normalizing basic needs, proactively addressing needs through early education and intervention, and reducing barriers for resource access. For their next phase of work, the UA Basic Needs Coalition seeks feedback from community organizations about barriers and opportunities to working with students - to learn more, contact Lisa.
Interested in presentation slides? Email Lisa Floran (

Save the date! Network Meetings are designed to build awareness, trust, and capacity among local partners offering financial wellness resources. Our next Network Meeting is set for Thursday, June 16th.
Public Policy Team Updates
In April, the Public Policy group considered the possibility of a campaign around emergency savings. Data from FINRA suggests that Arizona households with incomes under $50,000 are only half as likely to have emergency or retirement savings as higher income households. In future meetings, the group will be exploring different opportunities to increase savings ability and access for low and moderate income individuals - through programs, policies, and education. The group is also interested in exploring how to frame conversations around saving, especially given that inequitable wages, benefits, and systems make it impossible for many people to save.

Below are additional resources and opportunities flagged by the group this month:

  • Reimagining Safety Community Survey: Just Communities Arizona and the City of Tucson are partnering on a survey to inform new community health, safety, and wellness projects. Currently, input from the following underrepresented populations is especially sought - residents of Ward 1, 2, 4, & 5; people who rent; people who are houseless/housing unstable; people of color; immigrants/refugees; and monolingual Spanish speakers.
  • Expanding SNAP Access: The policy group wanted to flag HB2060 as legislation of note. As of our last meeting, the bill to extend SNAP benefits for individuals with felony convictions on record was progressing through the Legislature. Learn more at the link and keep an eye on this effort to expand basic needs support.
  • Moving Southern Arizona Toward Financial Wellness: Learn more about the five Financial Wellness categories of Basic Needs and Income, Emergency Savings, Wealth-building Opportunities, Financial Skills, and Community Engagement, including AZ-specific data.
The Public Policy group will next meet on Wednesday 5/11 at 1:30pm - contact Lisa if you'd like to receive the meeting link.
Financial Education and Coaching Team Updates
The newly formed Financial Education and Coaching focus team held their second meeting in April and immediately began working on one of the goals they established at their kickoff: mapping barriers for program participants and staff. Many common barriers emerged, particularly around participant motivation and retention, functional barriers and crisis events, staff capacity, and measuring impact. At the next meeting, the group plans to reflect on barriers with a discussion of solutions, tried and true and new. The meeting also included an overview and quick Q&A with Lauryn Valladarez from Interfaith Community Services about their Bridges Financial Management workshops.
The Financial Education and Coaching group will meet on Thursday 5/19 at 1pm - Contact Lisa ( to receive the link, notes, and meeting agendas.
Emergency and Basic Needs Assistance Resources
As of 2018, more than half of Arizona households making less than $50,000 reported difficulty covering their expenses and bills every month. And now, as housing prices continue to rise and summer heat sets in, many community members remain in need of assistance to stay housed, safe, and healthy. The following resources offer some of the best starting points for individuals seeking assistance:
  • Tucson-Pima Eviction Prevention Program: Also known as Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds, this portal continues to accept applications from community members seeking rental and utility assistance. The fund recently received a new infusion of support transferred from the state, meaning that money continues to flow in and be available.
  • Community Action Agency assistance: In addition to resources offered through partner programs at the link, Pima County Community Action Agency staff are currently accepting referrals to screen for Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds. Staff and case managers are encouraged to pass along applicant names and phone or email contact information to
  • This tool from TPCH can help individuals and families check their eligibility for homelessness prevention funds, which may be available in certain situations - such as when a family is paying to stay at a hotel but running out of funds, or being forced to leave a housing situation where they are doubled up.
  • Utility Assistance: The page linked here, found via, is a great central resource for different utility relief programs, including those from TEP, Southwest Gas, and other local providers.
  • Health Benefits: AHCCCS is taking steps to ensure that all eligible Arizonans can stay covered as the federal government ends the national public health emergency. Visit the AHCCCS page to check steps that can ensure members do not experience gaps in coverage.
If you have another central resource to add, or an update about an existing resource, please let us know - we are always looking to give community members and partners the most up-to-date information about assistance.
VITA Support - Spring and Summer Filing
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. Last month, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona's VITA program hosted the 2022 Filing Finale event at the Truly Nolen Training Facility and assisted 125 taxpayers, the most in the event's history! We continue to hear from taxpayers hoping to file, so the VITA program will remain open, in a reduced capacity, through the summer. If you or someone you know still needs to file, here's how they can find help:

Learn more about VITA and view additional tax resources: 2022 VITA Webpage
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. This month’s featured video comes from the Milk Money series and is called Elena: Finding Happiness in Moving Home to the Reservation. Elena shares her story of adjusting to being a single mother and how she was able to improve her family's life by expanding her financial capability - gradually building assets while paying down debts. This video would be a useful addition to a unit on credit, budgeting, or savings and would be best suited for a program focused on serving single parents or caregivers.

Reading List
Other Opportunities
Mi Casita Focus Groups: Mi Casita seeks input from community members in upcoming ADU conversations in May and June - construction, renting, permitting, and land trust models. Learn more about how to participate at the link.

Next Steps in Home Sharing: Workshop to address the details of setting up a home share. Tuesday 5/10, 1-2:30pm, in-person at PCOA (600 S Country Club). Email for more information.

Job Opportunity - United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona: Open positions include Director, Data and Special Projects for the End of Life Care Partnership (EOLCP).

Job Opportunity - Center for Economic Integrity: CEI seeks a part-time Community Engagement Coordinator to assist the ED and Communications Director/Comptroller.

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.

  • *NEW* Note on LIHEAP: Pima County Community Action Agency staff are currently accepting referrals to screen for Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds. Staff and case managers are encouraged to pass along applicant names and phone or email contact information to .

Eviction Prevention Resources - The Tucson Pima EPP portal for rental and utility assistance is still open, working with a network of 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* SingleCare Affordable Prescriptions: United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona partners with SingleCare to provide community members with access to affordable prescription medications. The SingleCare prescription savings card is always free to use by everyone and has no registration or eligibility requirements - it can be used right away. Once signed up, a member just needs to show the savings card to their pharmacist when they fill a prescription at a participating pharmacy. The discount will be automatically applied at checkout.

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)- The ACP is an FCC benefit (formerly Emergency Broadband Benefit) that helps ensure households can afford the broadband they require for work, healthcare and to stay connected. The ACP provides eligible low-income households a credit up to $30 a month toward the cost of Internet service ($75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands). Participants in the program can apply the ACP credit toward the cost of participating plans from a variety of Internet service providers, as well as mobile services.

  • Locally, Comcast is one participating provider. Households that choose plans that cost $30/month or less will essentially receive their service for free - learn more about Comcast's program here

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

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.

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.

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.

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