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Ahorra tiempo al entregar tus documentos de impuestos en un Centro Próspero

February 15, 2022 | Posted in Tax Services, Financial Stability |

¿Por qué pasar horas declarando impuestos? Estás ocupado, ¡lo entendemos! Ahorra tiempo al entregar tus documentos de impuestos en un Centro Próspero. ¡Nuestro Programa de Drop Off es una forma confidencial y segura de presentar tus impuestos!

Así es como funciona:
• Completas una entrevista de admisión y escaneas tus documentos de forma segura en el sitio
• Nuestros preparadores de impuestos certificados por el IRS prepararán y revisarán tu declaración para asegurar la mayor exactitud
• Cuando tu declaración de impuestos esté lista para revisar, volverás a cualquier centro de impuestos para revisar y presentar tu declaración con el IRS

Para ayudarnos a preparar tus impuestos, por favor asegúrate de traer todos los documentos de impuestos a la entrevista de admisión. No podemos preparar tu declaración si olvidas alguno de estos documentos. Si no estás seguro qué traer a la entrevista de admisión, hicimos una lista para ayudarte.

Esto es lo que necesita traer:
• Identificación con fotografía
• Tarjeta(s) de Seguridad Social o carta(s) ITIN para todos en la declaración
• Todos los documentos fiscales (por ejemplo, W-2, 1099, 1095-A)
• Información bancaria (números de ruta y cuenta)
• Cualquier registro personal de gastos (educación, atención médica, cuidado infantil, donaciones, etc.)
** Si está casado y la presentación es conjunta, ambos conyugues deben estar presente

¡Los Centros Prósperos ahora están abiertos para servicios en persona! ¡Programa tu cita GRATIS de admisión para el programa Drop Off hoy!
¡Recuperemos TODO tu dinero esta temporada!

Meet with a Financial Coach, make the most of your tax refund

January 31, 2022 | Posted in Tax Services, Financial Stability |

In the Financial Wellness program, we love making plans for reaching financial goals! This is a very exciting time of year where many people are getting a tax refund, and can make big strides toward their financial goals – even if one of those goals is to just catch up!

Here are a few tips for how to make the most of your tax refund:

        • Catch up on bills – Have you gotten behind on bill payments? Are the late fees stacking up? Getting caught up and starting fresh is a great way to make the most of your refund.
        • Pay down debt – Do you owe money on a loan or credit card? Are the interest and fees making it hard to keep up? Paying down debt is a great option for using your refund. If there is one debt (and monthly payment) you can completely eliminate with your refund, even better
        • Save for emergencies or future expenses – We know emergencies and large expenses are coming. Be prepared by saving a portion of your refund to deal with them. Consider saving for things like:
    • * Car repairs
    • * Medical bills
    • * Job loss
    • * Education
    • * Down payment on a house
    • * New Furniture
    • * Vacation

*Pro tip: talk to your Financial Coach about what savings vehicle is best for you and your goals.

  • Save a portion of your refund right on your tax return and get an HEB gift card – When you get your taxes done at our Prosper Centers, tell your tax preparer that you want to save a portion of your refund. Direct at least $50 of your refund to a savings account or a savings bond and they’ll give you a $10 HEB gift card.

If you would like to talk to a Financial Coach about your tax refund plans (or any financial plans!), call our Prosper Centers at 737-717-4000 or visit our web site at ProsperFinancialWellness.org.

Save time and drop off your taxes!

January 25, 2022 | Posted in Tax Services, Financial Stability |

Why spend hours filing taxes? You’re busy, we understand that! Save time by dropping off your taxes at a Prosper Tax Help center. Our Drop Off Program is a confidential and safe way to file your taxes!

Here’s how it works: 

1. Complete an intake interview and scan your documents securely on-site

2. Our IRS-certified tax preparers will prepare & review your return for accuracy

3. When your tax return is done, come back to any tax center to review and file with the IRS

 
To help us prepare your taxes, please make sure to bring all your tax documents to your Drop-Off intake appointment. We cannot prepare your return if you forget any of these documents. If you’re not sure what to bring, we made a list to help you.

Here’s what you need to bring:

*Valid photo ID

*Social Security Card(s) or ITIN letter(s)

*All tax documents (e.g., W-2, 1099, 1095-A)

*Bank information

*Any personal records of expenses (education, medical, child care, charitable donations, etc.)

*If you are married and filing jointly, both spouses must be present

 
The Prosper Tax Help centers are now open for in-person  services! Schedule your FREE  Drop Off Intake appointment today!

Let’s get ALL your money back this season!

 

Here’s a free, online tool for filing simple tax returns

January 20, 2022 | Posted in Tax Services, Financial Stability |

Have a simple W2? Why pay fees when you can file for FREE! Visit MyFreeTaxes.com to max your tax return today. MyFreeTaxes is secure and designed to help get you the most money back!  

MyFreeTaxes guides you through the filing process and notifies you if you are eligible for tax deductions and credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. There is also a helpline available in English and Spanish so you can get live help from a real person trained by the IRS.  

All of this is available to you, at no cost, to ensure you get the biggest tax return possible!   

MyFreeTaxes can also help you with the following services:   

·       W-2 income 

·       Self-employment income  

·       Student education expenses, credits or student loan interest 

·       Unemployment income 

·       Earned Income Tax Credit 

·       Child Tax Credit  

·       Child and dependent care expenses 

MyFreeTaxes is available on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Taxes don’t have to be complicated, visit MyFreeTaxes.com to file your taxes today!  

Health Initiatives Program Awarded Large Grant for COVID-19 Outreach, Education

December 17, 2021 | Posted in Healthy Initiatives, Health |

Foundation Communities is honored to have been awarded a grant of $126,365 for COVID-19 vaccine outreach and education from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas A&M University Health Science Center. The grant is part of an $8.6 million effort to fund local organizations across the state through the Texas Vaccine Outreach and Education Grant Program, which seeks to increase the number of fully vaccinated people in Texas.

“As our statewide COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue to show progress, DSHS believes these grants will have an immediate effect in neighborhoods across Texas,” said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services. “Local organizations are trusted sources of information that can use their direct community connections to educate and help those who may be hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The grant funding will help Foundation Communities continue and expand our COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Since May of this year, we have helped hundreds of Central Texans get vaccinated against COVID-19 through our Health Initiatives program, in partnership with East Austin Medicine Shop and Austin Public Health. We have also made efforts to inform Central Texans about the effectiveness and importance of COVID-19 vaccinations.

”We are excited to be trusted with this grant opportunity to reach additional people and expand our vaccine outreach and education efforts across five Texas counties,” said Aaron DeLaO, director of health initiatives.

Priority for the grants was given to applicants focusing on outreach to rural communities, Texans with disabilities and communities of color. Foundation Communities’ Health Coverage team is already focusing on these and other underserved populations as they work to get Texans enrolled in affordable Marketplace health insurance plans.

Foundation Communities is Making Signing up for Marketplace Health Plans Simple

November 24, 2021 | Posted in Health |

Simply put, Foundation Communities’ Health Coverage team is on a mission to simplify health insurance enrollment for clients, and to enroll many more clients. “This is a really big year for the Marketplace in Texas because we have more providers, more plans, and more financial assistance than ever before,” said Aaron DeLaO, Director of Health Initiatives for Foundation Communities. You can sign up for an appointment with our Health Coverage team at prosperhealthcoverage.org.

The Open Enrollment period is the only time of year people can change their health plan unless they have a qualifying life event such as moving, getting married or having a baby. Open Enrollment started on November 1 and will end on January 15. That represents an extra month our Health Coverage Team will have to get people signed up. At an Open Enrollment Kickoff at the Prosper Center South on November 8, Foundation Communities and elected officials announced more changes.

“We’re also really excited that we’re gonna be welcoming clients back into our Prosper Centers for in-person appointments, though we will still maintain telephone appointments for people who want those,” said Foundation Communities Deputy Executive Director Julian Huerta. “We are extending our outreach to 12 counties in Central Texas, and we’re stepping up outreach in communities that have high numbers of uninsured folks, because always our goal is to simplify the process of signing up for health insurance so that people can stay healthy and have the peace of mind that comes with having health insurance.”

The expanded outreach is largely due to Foundation Communities being awarded a three-year, $3 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It’s part of a renewed emphasis on the Affordable Care Act by the Biden Administration. The American Rescue Plan enacted earlier this year significantly increases both the amount of financial help available to lower monthly premiums through the HealthCare.gov Marketplace, and the number of people who qualify for it.

Congressman Lloyd Doggett said, “A significant number of people will find that for the first time, they will pay no premium at all to get the coverage that they need, because we’ve tried to improve and strengthen the Affordable Care Act coverage for many working families who are economically disadvantaged.”

Doggett said his number one priority is to end Texas’ run as the most uninsured state in the country. Austin Mayor Steve Adler echoed that sentiment. “Twenty-one percent of Texans live without any form of health insurance, and that is criminal, criminal in a day like we have here today. Especially after we’ve seen the importance of access to health care in our community as we’ve gone through this past pandemic,” said Adler. “There are 162 plans to choose from (in Travis and Williamson Counties) and Foundation Communities can walk anybody through what is not a terribly complicated process.”

“Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege,” said Austin Council Member Greg Casar. “And, it is days like this, and organizations like Foundation Communities that make that right real for people.”

The Kickoff opened with a performance from Austin musicians Alejandro Rios and Roddrinskee “DRINT” Johnson. Later, Rios took center stage to talk about how the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) and Foundation Communities helped him get coverage for surgery on a spinal cyst that threatened to leave him paralyzed. Rios encouraged everyone to sign up for Marketplace health coverage. “I’m excited to be doing another year. This is the time to sign up, while it’s hot,” said Rios.

“What many of our neighbors don’t realize is that musicians that make this the Live Music Capital of the World, just like Alejandro and DRINT, are basically small businesses,” said Doggett. “And, if they had to go out and get health insurance on their own, it might be prohibitively expensive for their business. But, through HAAM, and through Foundation Communities, and through the Affordable Care Act, they can get the coverage that they need to continue performing.”

Anyone in the state of Texas can schedule a health coverage appointment with Foundation Communities by calling 512-381-4520, or by signing up at ProsperHealthCoverage.org. Enrollment assistance is available in many languages.

Payday Loan Relief is Here

November 3, 2021 | Posted in Financial Stability |

Prosper Financial Wellness offers a Fresh Start Loan to help clients get out of predatory loans such as payday and title loans. The Fresh Start Loan reports to all three main credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This flexible loan never charges extra fees. In fact, it offers discounts if borrowers are able to pay back the loan early. This loan also offers APRs way below typical payday and title loans, regardless of the borrower’s credit score.

Clients may qualify if they currently have payday or title loan debt of up to $1,000, a valid Social Security number, regular take home pay, a checking account they regularly use, and online banking set up (a Financial Coach can help set up online banking). A Fresh Start loan helps borrowers build credit, while saving them over $500 in the long run.

If someone you know is struggling to pay off payday or title loans, this may be the option for them! To apply, schedule an appointment with a Financial Coach, by visiting ProsperFinancialWellness.org or calling 737-717-4000.

You may qualify if you:

 * Are working toward goals with a Financial Coach Currently have Payday and/or Title loans with a total balance up to $1,000

* Have a valid Social Security Number

* Have a checking account that you use regularly

* Have online banking set up with your bank or credit union (a Financial Coach can help set this up)

* Have regular take-home pay

Church’s Legacy to Live on Through FC Affordable Housing

September 17, 2021 | Posted in Affordable Housing, Housing |

In Austin’s Riverside area, an old church stands in a grassy field among towering shade trees. The Parker Lane United Methodist Church (UMC) building has been on the eight-acre site for more than 60 years, but in 2019 it was forced to close because of declining membership.

On a sweltering Austin day, Foundation Communities Executive Director Walter Moreau stood underneath one of those majestic trees with a UMC official to discuss plans for the property’s next chapter. You can watch the conversation between Moreau and Brooks Schuelke, UMC Austin District Lay Leader in this video.

“The typical default for the United Methodist Church is just to sell the property,” said  Schuelke. “We thought that this property is too big of a resource to just sell.”

What they decided to do was enter into a lease agreement with Foundation Communities to allow FC to build an affordable apartment complex here for 135 low-income families with an onsite learning center. Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has approved $15 million in tax credits for the construction, and the City of Austin will contribute $4.1 million in matching funds.

The plan is to start construction on Parker Lane Apartments next spring and welcome home families by the end of 2023. They’ll find an apartment community that’s environmentally friendly and comforting.

“(We’re) incorporating as many elements of “trauma-informed design” and “healing-centered design” as we can to better respond to the mental health needs of the community we serve,” said Megan Matthews, FC’s Director of Design.

Service to community is the main reason UMC chose to partner with Foundation Communities, as it’s a big part of Parker Lane UMC’s legacy. They especially love the learning center concept, which primarily houses after-school classes for children.

“Many, if not most of our churches are also involved in local schools doing similar kind of work,” said Schuelke. “You’re gonna have a food pantry. Many of our churches do food pantries.”

Capital Studios Resident Was Full of Life, Despite Health Issues

September 16, 2021 | Posted in Affordable Housing, Residents, Housing, Health |

  • We are saddened to note that Manny Nanez passed away on May 6, 2022. We are continuing to publish his story below as a tribute to the contributions he made to the community at Capital Studios. 

Manny Nanez greets everyone he meets as he walks around Capital Studios. As a Community Engagement Specialist, he’s constantly looking for ways to help others. He even delivers food from the food pantry to his neighbors through his work with Foundation Communities’ Supported Employment program.

You would hardly know it, but Manny has serious health problems. He’s on the waiting list for a new liver because the one he has been living with for almost 63 years is failing. He attributes that to his struggles with alcoholism, which also caused him to become homeless.

“I was lost,” said Nanez. “I had a rupture in the inside of my abdomen due to my liver damage.” Manny says he didn’t know it, but he was also suffering from depression and brain damage. In 2014, he was fortunate that a cousin found him and recognized that he needed help. His relatives took him to a hospital. “I was constantly bleeding (internally). How they stopped it, I don’t know. All I know is, I ended up in ICU and I went into a coma.”

When he came out of the coma, Manny’s relatives put him in a nursing home. His time there had a deep impact on him – the support of family, having nurses care for him and becoming friends with other people who had health problems worse than his. Manny decided he would get to work to regain his ability to walk without assistance. He succeeded. Then, he started encouraging other patients.

“I was going to people’s rooms that were in wheelchairs talking to ‘em, telling them if I did it, you can do it,” said Nanez. “My life, I know what I’ve done, but the only way to fix it is to go forward.”

With the improvements to his condition, Manny left the nursing home and moved into his sister’s home. While he was glad to be reunited with his family, Manny felt it would be better for his mental health if he lived on his own, as part of a community. In 2014 he applied for residency at Capital Studios, a Foundation Communities’ community for single adults in downtown Austin. Three weeks later he was preparing to move in.

At Capital Studios, Manny stays busy, attending therapy sessions and classes on mental health, chronic illness, yoga and meditation. In his free time he goes for walks to his church, the capitol building or UT. Staff at Capital Studios check on him regularly and they’ve  helped him get grants for free transportation to his many medical appointments and other medical needs. He really appreciates the flexibility of the Supported Employment Program. “That’s what keeps me going. I have to be busy,” said Manny. “And, me doing the work that I do, it gives me more faith to keep on living because, I’m not just feeding the people, to me it’s an honor to give to people that are hungry.”

The threat of liver failure still looms large. Manny keeps an emergency transmitter around his neck to call for medical assistance if he needs it. He’s now sober. As for depression, he says all the support he gets at Capital Studios has been like medicine for that.

Foundation Communities Awarded $3M to Help More Families and Individuals Secure Health Coverage

August 31, 2021 | Posted in Healthy Initiatives, Health |

This just in: our Health Coverage program has been awarded a $1 million federal grant for the next three years! This win will help us sustain the program, plus expand Health Insurance Enrollment to now serve 12 counties, including several rural counties in our region.

“Our team is excited and looking forward to utilizing this amazing grant award to expand our work in helping those with no insurance find high-quality health insurance plans,” said Aaron DeLaO, Director of Health Initiatives for Foundation Communities.

Since 2014, FC has assisted more than 20 thousand people find comprehensive health coverage. Even with the challenges presented by the pandemic, FC’s Health Coverage team helped almost 700 individuals enroll in health insurance plans during the Special Enrollment Period, which just completed on August 15th.

The CMS Navigator grant was awarded last Friday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2021 CMS Navigator awardees like Foundation Communities will focus on outreach to particularly underserved communities. This includes people who identify as racial and ethnic minorities, people in rural communities, the LGBTQ+ community, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, refugee and immigrant communities, low-income families, pregnant women and new mothers, people with transportation or language barriers or who lack internet access, veterans and small business owners.

You can learn more about Foundation Communities’ Health Coverage program at https://foundcom.org/prosper-centers/health-coverage/.