United Way's Financial Stability Goals
• Decrease in Overall Poverty by 3% per county with an emphasis on children in poverty
• No increase in rental housing ‘burden’ by 2017, decrease in rental housing ‘burden’ to no more than 30% by 2020
• Decrease in underbanked to no more than 15% per county
• Identify and leverage existing opportunities for co-location, coordination and other opportunities that remove barriers to higher wage employment
United Way of Treasure Valley’s financial stability work focuses on decreasing poverty with an emphasis on children in poverty, reducing barriers to affordable housing, removing barriers of transportation, increasing financial literacy, and supporting job training leading to livable-wage jobs. Research and data guides United Way’s efforts. The United Way ALICE Report—Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed—showed that 37 percent of households in Idaho struggle financially to make ends meet. Of the 37 percent, 15 percent are living below the Federal Poverty Line, while an additional 22 percent are working, but struggling to pay for basic necessities, like food, transportation and housing.
Bank On Treasure Valley
Many people in the Treasure Valley don’t have access to bank accounts after running into financial troubles. This can create a barrier to employment, as more companies require bank accounts for direct payroll deposits. Without a bank account, many families have to use alternative financial services, losing 10 percent of their income.
To address this issue, United Way created the Bank On program, which is a series of free financial literary training courses, taught by local banking professionals. Once individuals complete the Bank On courses, they are awarded a certificate that they can present to a variety of local financial institutions and open a new saving or checking account.
Learn more about Bank On at www.unitedwaytv.org/bank
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps low-income workers and families keep more of the money they have earned. In 2016, 130,000 households in Idaho received the EITC, and the average EITC refund was over $2,300. Right now, the EITC is only available to specific ages and demographics. But, Congress has the chance to change that, with bipartisan legislature pending that would include more of Idaho’s low-wage workers.
United Way’s MyFreeTaxes
Individuals and households who earn less than $64,000 a year can file their state and federal taxes for free on MyFreeTaxes.com. United Way’s MyFreeTaxes program, in partnership with H&R Block, aims to help people save money on costly tax preparation and filing services. MyFreeTaxes is free, easy to use, and secure. Powered by H&R Block’s tax-filing software, MyFreeTaxes walks you through each part of the process, and makes sure you are aware of tax credits and deductions you may qualify for.
Learn more about MyFreeTaxes.com.
What impact has United Way made?
In 2016, United Way of Treasure Valley invested $303,710 into local financial stability programs and initiatives. Here are some of the highlights and outcomes from United Way’s work:
• 1,162 adults received job education and training that led to asset development, financial literacy, and livable wage jobs.
• 71 people received help obtaining affordable, permanent housing.
• 54 adults received education and training to reestablish bank accounts.
• 30 people participated in the Individual Development Account (IDA) program and received financial assistance for post-secondary education and permanent housing.
• 890 individuals received free state and federal tax filing through United Way’s MyFreeTaxes.com, and many received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).