The ability for low-wage earners to access benefits, save money toward building assets, develop new job skills, and receive the necessary tax credits are all strategies for helping people achieve financial independence. AmeriCorps Upstate seeks to address the current economic hardships of six counties in South Carolina by leveraging the unique strengths of the United Way system and community partners in order to make a difference in the lives of people.
The United Way partners and host sites that make up this collaborative understand the vital need for partnering, sharing best practices, leveraging resources, and getting measurable results. It is with that understanding that the collaborative has come together and committed itself to the AmeriCorps program, knowing that no one agency or program can do this most challenging work on its own.
Our AmeriCorps members will leverage an additional 1,000 volunteers to provide financial stability services to low-income residents in Greenville, Pickens, Spartanburg, Cherokee, Union, Anderson and Laurens counties.
Want to Join AmeriCorps?
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Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) provides free income tax preparation and filing services to individuals and families with a household income of $63,000 or less. The program's IRS-trained and certified volunteers help low and middle income families identify qualifying tax credits, maximizing returns and saving the community thousands of dollars each year in tax preparation fees.
Team members will use tools such as The Benefit Bank to connect individuals to resources in the community in a time of need. This may be housing assistance, food banks, or homeless shelters. The Benefit Bank is a web-based screening tool that simplifies and centralizes the process of applying for many state and federal benefits for low and moderate income individuals and families. The Benefit Bank is a part of a community-wide response to poverty and can be utilized by a wide range of community service providers.
Through a basic intake, members will be able to assess an individual's strengths and needs, recommend and implement a sequence for accessing services and provide case management and referrals to help the individual achieve long-term financial stability. Our team primarily uses the FDIC's MoneySmart curriculum.
Members will have knowledge of resources in their area for workforce development. They will help clients who are unemployed or underemployed connect to agencies or organizations that can offer industry-specific and soft skills in order to achieve stable employment and earn a family-sustaining income.