Nearly 300,000 people in our Richmond-Petersburg region live in economic vulnerability. This means our people earn less than $24,200 and a working families of four earns about $48,500. Serving as a United Way Cash Coach, we learned about the trade-offs and tough choices these families had to make because they consistently stayed financially stretched to meet everyday expenses.
Safe housing, high-quality day care, keeping the lights on, medications, healthy foods—how do you prioritize those things?
With the Earned Income Tax Credit, working families can receive back up to $6,000 dollars each year of their earnings to put towards their child’s education, transportation to their job, and other purchases that will help their family become more financial secure. Studies have shown that the Earned Income Tax Credit is the most effective anti-poverty program. And yet across the country up to 20% of eligible participants don’t claim their money each year. This means our families – and our whole community – is missing out on critical funds. United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg’s metroCASH program assists eligible families and individuals across our region get their full tax credits. United Way is also educating advocates across the community to become participants in the program, to be volunteers and coaches helping friends and neighbors receive their full return.
United Way Young Leaders and other United Way advocates will be canvassing neighborhoods talking to folks and distributing information about the Earned Income Tax Credit and other financial security resources available in our community. You could be the difference between someone claiming the tax credit or not and helping a family and our community be more prosperous. While not all of us can give $6,000 to a family directly to help with school, bills, or housing, we can give two hours to make an impact though impactful and strategic volunteering.
Building awareness and spreading the word about proven solutions like the Earned Income Tax Credit is critical to making our community a place where we all can prosper and thrive. Join us at United Way Young Leaders Prosperity Street Team on October 22, 2017.