Income

THE CHALLENGE

Low-income working families experience a number of personal and structural obstacles to achieving financial stability. These obstacles fall into three broad categories: lack of quality education, lack of awareness, and lack of access to supports and services. Working families often struggle to afford food, rent, childcare, and transportation, with little or nothing left over for saving.

This instability prevents families from making more long-term healthy financial decisions regarding savings and asset building. Our goal is to develop financially empowered and stable members of our community.

VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE

Many people in our community don’t have access to affordable tax preparation services or are unaware of programs like Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that could put thousands of dollars back in their hands and into our local economy. VITA helps taxpayers obtain eligible tax credits and deductions, especially EITC, Child Tax Credit, Education Tax Credits and Child Care tax deductions. By offering this service for free in our community, we help individuals and families maximize their returns, thereby achieving greater financial stability.

Sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), VITA provides free income tax preparation assistance to individuals and families with a household income of less than $53,000 a year. VITA volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS to help taxpayers maximize their potential tax returns by ensuring all of the tax credits and deductions for which they qualify are claimed.

FINANCIAL LITERACY CLASSES

To reach our broad income aspirations, we strive to increase the number of individuals in Essex and West Hudson Counties who have the knowledge and resources necessary to sustain financial independence.  We provide financial education through free, accessible, and effective financial literacy classes.

Upon completion of this class, participants will be able to:

  • Define the components of a family budget
  • Create and maintain a personal financial plan
  • Discuss and dissect your financial habits and its effect on their lives
  • Understand basic banking services
  • Understand credit, credit reports, and how to use them effectively
  • Know and be able to implement the steps needed for alternate means of income
  • Identify tools, agencies and services that provide financial assistance

Financial/Credit Coaching

The FEC Program also provides free one-on-one financial and credit coaching. The participant will meet with a Financial Coach who will also assist the client with creating a budget and provide solutions for decreasing and eliminating debt. The client can also meet with a certified credit counselor that will pull and review the client’s credit report, and provide them with solutions on building and improving credit scores. Financial/Credit Coaching – The FEC Program also provides free one-on-one financial and credit coaching. The participant will meet with a Financial Coach who will also assist the client with creating a budget and provide solutions for decreasing and eliminating debt. The client can also meet with a certified credit counselor that will pull and review the client’s credit report, and provide them with solutions on building and improving credit scores.

Our services feature:

  • Goal establishment
  • Creating a savings and spending plan
  • Credit review and analysis
  • Debt review and analysis
  • Bill pay schedule

TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
Please complete our pre-screening form and we will contact you to set up an appointment. Click here.

Financial Aid U (FAU)

The FAU Program helps traditional and nontraditional students navigate the financial aid application process (completion of the FAFSA, and preparation of the tax returns needed to obtain required data), as well as help students review aid packages and understand the implications of grants/loans in the package. Assistance is also provided in creating a budget for college.

TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
Please complete our pre-screening form and we will contact you to set up an appointment. Click here.

ADDITIONAL OFFERINGS

We strive to increase the number of individuals in Essex and West Hudson Counties who are more educated about every day fiscal matters and opportunities pertaining to things like business development or financial aid. Throughout the year we offer individual credit counseling, home-buyer training and free assistance with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

First Time Homebuyer

The First Time Homebuyer Program, in partnership with select banks and realtors, will prepare potential first time homebuyers for homeownership. The program provides a comprehensive “walk through” of the entire home buying process including credit, savings, inspections, appraisals, down payments, and insurance.  You will be empowered to make smart decisions during your first home buying experience.

Business Bootcamp

The Business Boot Camp Program, in partnership with Learn Now Grow (LNG), will educate aspiring and existing business owners on how to grow their company by taking advantage of procurement opportunities with New Jersey public and private entities. Participants will learn how to navigate the procurement process, and gain knowledge on different certifications that can give their company the competitive edge in landing contracts. The curriculum consists of 6 courses, and every exercise is designed to allow participants to immediately practice and apply what they are learning to their business.