Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) for People Experiencing Homelessness

CONSUMER AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS

County Spending Category
1.5 Breaking the Cycle of Intergenerational Poverty
Federal Expenditure Category
Economic Impact Assistance: Other
Project Launch Date
02/01/2023
Anticipated End Date
12/31/2026
Interpretation Languages
  • Spanish
  • Farsi
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Cantonese
Written Languages
  • Spanish
  • Simplified Chinese

Project Contacts

Indicators & Metrics to Date

  • Number of Households Served
    5324
  • Number of State Tax Returns Successfully Filed
    4943
  • Number of Federal Tax Returns Successfully Filed
    5324
  • Number of residents who received EITC
    1398
  • Number of resident who received the Child Tax Credit
    796
  • Geographical span of VITA services knowledge and awareness.
    10
  • Increase in services providers who have knowledge and awareness of VITA services
    130
  • Knowledge transfer and enhanced awareness of PEH service providers
    129
  • Number of Trainings produced/hosted
    13
  • Number of Porviders who Participated in Training
    15
  • Increased awareness of VITA services
    5324
  • Number of ITIN applications
    364
  • Host tax event
    46
  • Provide CBO trainings to increase and/or build capacity
    0
  • Number of CBOs partnered with
    10
  • Number of people reporting success stories
    13
  • Conduct detailed debriefings to refine program
    1
  • Receive final reports per tax season
    0

Target Populations

  • People Experiencing Homelessness

Project Description

DCBA’s Center for Financial Empowerment (CFE) will partner with local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) service providers to work with human services organizations and homeless services providers, including Project Homekey sites, throughout Los Angeles County to increase tax filings for underserved populations, including low-moderate individuals, single-parents, and unhoused individuals and families. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most potent resources for lifting low-income people out of poverty. The EITC provides a refundable cashback credit to low-income working individuals and families when they prepare and file their tax returns. EITC delivers a much-needed income boost for eligible filers to help meet basic needs and strengthen their economic security. Most people experiencing homelessness (PEH) face barriers to filing a tax return. They do not have access to the online and in-person services that most people use to file their taxes. They may not have a form of identification or a social security card readily available to verify their identity. They also may not have a bank account or mailing address to receive income tax refunds or stimulus checks.   The COVID-19 pandemic financially impacted all residents of LA County. This program is designed to provided assistance to those hardest hit by the pandemic by helping them meet tax filing requirements, lessening the cost of filing, and maximizing refunds for which they were eligible to receive. The target population of this program are those that reside in the highest and high need tiers of the COVID-19 recovery index. This project will: (1) aim to expand services outside the City of Los Angeles, (2) attempt to remove or minimize the barriers these populations face when attempting to access tax filing services, (3) increase capacity of existing VITA service providers, and (4) build capacity of homeless services providers who do not currently provide VITA services. The project will also fund administrative and staff costs to develop and implement since August 2021. 

Goals & Objectives

Goal Description By December 31, 2024, provide at least 6,000 low-income residents with free VITA services through increasing capacity in CBOs by providing training and resources to access tax preparation assistance.

Objective Description Make free income tax filing services available to 6,000 low-income individuals residing in the highest and high need areas, annually during each tax season and conduct VITA information and high-level training sessions for at least five (5) CBOs including PEH service providers each project year.

Activity Description Make free income tax filing (VITA) services available to low-income and unhoused residents. Provide a mobile tax events to bring the services to where the eligible individuals and families are receiving services, e.g., homeless services providers, temporary housing facilities, etc. We will schedule at least three (3) tax events, per month, from February to May, for a total of 12 tax events each project year.
Indicators
# Type Name Baseline Target
1 Service Delivery Number of Households Served 1.00 6000.00
1 Service Delivery Number of Federal Tax Returns Successfully Filed 1.00 6000.00
1 Service Delivery Number of State Tax Returns Successfully Filed 1.00 6000.00
1 Service Delivery Number of residents who received EITC 1.00 2400.00
1 Service Delivery Number of resident who received the Child Tax Credit 1.00 800.00
1 Service Delivery Number of ITIN applications 1.00 300.00
1 Service Delivery Host tax event 1.00 24.00

Activity Description Provide training to CBOs, including homeless service providers, to build and increase capacity to provide VITA services. This can include connecting them to available resources to increase staff capacity.
Indicators
# Type Name Baseline Target
1 Service Delivery Provide CBO trainings to increase and/or build capacity 1.00 10.00

Activity Description Partner with CBOs to expand VITA services outside the City of Los Angeles to reach those communities throughout the County where low-moderate income County residents are located. DCBA will work with contractor and Project Homekey staff to identify the most vulnerable PEH communities outside of the City of Los Angeles and throughout the County.
Indicators
# Type Name Baseline Target
1 Service Delivery Number of CBOs partnered with 1.00 6.00

Outcome Description People receiving VITA services report they are more financially secure.
Indicators
# Type Name Baseline Target
1 Program Outcome Number of people reporting success stories 1.00 18.00
1 Program Outcome Conduct detailed debriefings to refine program 2.00 2.00
1 Program Outcome Receive final reports per tax season 3.00 3.00