News

SEVCA Receives Funding to Help Windham & Windsor County Residents with COVID-Related Impacts

SEVCA Receives Funding to Help Windham & Windsor County Residents with COVID-Related Impacts:

Resources available for those needing information, referrals and assistance

April 28, 2020

(Westminster, Vermont) Generous local, regional and statewide partners have given Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) funding to provide critical services to local residents who need help to alleviate the negative effects of COVID-19 and achieve or re-establish financial security, whether or not they were previously eligible for SEVCA’s services. Grants from the Vermont Community Foundation, Couch Foundation, Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, and Danforth Charitable Fund will enable SEVCA to provide needed services to an expanded number of households seeking emergency relief and recovery. SEVCA also anticipates receiving additional funding to help people experiencing COVID-19’s impacts navigate the resources available to them that can resolve their crisis and provide greater stability at this time and into the future.

 

Although SEVCA’s offices are currently closed to the public and many staff are working from home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, most services are still being provided but in different ways: remotely, by phone, email, or internet, by appointment, and/or by mailing or drop-off of documents. Steve Geller, SEVCA’s Executive Director, wants everyone living in southeastern Vermont to know that “SEVCA is still here to help, and we’re helping scores of people every day, even when we can’t meet with them in person. We’ve become very creative at devising ways of meeting people’s needs without having to sit face-to-face with them.”

“In fact,” he went on to say, “due to the additional COVID-19 relief funding and relaxed eligibility thresholds in some programs, many more households are now eligible to receive existing services and expanded and new programs developed specifically to remediate the devastating effects of COVID-19 for even more people.  So even if you thought you weren’t eligible for any of these services, this is the time to set aside those assumptions and contact us to find out for sure.”

SEVCA will now be able to serve a wider range of local residents with a diverse array of services, such as: Navigating relief & recovery resources; 3SquaresVT (Food Stamps) application assistance; unemployment & health insurance access; fuel and utility assistance; eviction & foreclosure prevention, housing case management, and landlord mediation; financial management counseling & support; job readiness training & assistance; small business support; SEVCA Windsor County Head Start registration; weatherization and heating repair & replacement; and many other available services, connections, and referrals to other area and state-wide providers. At times such as these, it’s crucial to access all available resources to alleviate the short-term crisis and build future financial security. In order to do this, additional resources have been made available for SEVCA to support households who previously were not eligible to receive services. Those interested in getting help or finding out more should contact SEVCA at 800-464-9951 for information or an appointment.

In addition to offering expanded services to Vermonters who require emergency assistance due to COVID19, SEVCA continues to provide all services in a different format in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Orders. Currently no weatherization or home repair work can be done, yet the agency is arranging for emergency heating system repairs & replacements to take place and continues to accept applications for the other services. At this time, the Springfield, Hartford, and Bellows Falls Good Buy Thrift Stores are closed to the public, yet people can request and obtain vouchers for one of the stores from SEVCA’s Family Services staff. Vouchers can be used for specific items and are available at no cost for emergency situations. SEVCA’s Economic Development program now has available enrollment for ongoing Financial Fitness and Ready for Work online training; small business counseling is offered via phone; and trained staff are available to work with anyone interested in planning their financial security.

As the region’s designated Community Action Agency (CAA), SEVCA works with local and state partners, and in coordination with CAAs nationwide, to help resolve crises, create opportunities for all people to thrive, build strong, resilient communities, and work toward a more equitable society. SEVCA was founded on May 12, 1965 and has been meeting needs and changing lives in southeastern Vermont for 55 years. It is still here – and will continue to be here – regardless of the crisis, as they were during the Great Recession in 2009, Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, and now the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020. More information can be found at www.sevca.org or (https://www.facebook.com/SEVCAorg/), or by calling 800-464-9951.

SEVCA Remains Open and Announces Changes to Service Delivery in Response to COVID-19

Services remain available for Windham and Windsor County Residents 

Effective 3/18/2020

SEVCA is committed to serving Windham and Windsor County residents to the best of our ability under all circumstances. But, effective Wednesday March 18th, we will be changing the way we provide services, at least through April 3rd, and possibly longer, to be determined at a later date.

As a response to growing concerns about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and in order to keep community members and staff safe, SEVCA will revise program delivery for all programs, as follows:  All requests for services and appointments will be handled strictly by telephone or other methods not requiring in-person contact, and all SEVCA offices and program sites will be closed to the public. Family Services staff will continue to offer fuel & housing assistance and other crisis intervention services, and Economic Development staff will provide Micro Business, Financial Fitness, Matched Savings, and Ready for Work services, all by phone.  The VITA program will continue to provide Income Tax Preparation Assistance at our Westminster, Windsor, and White River Junction sites, but it will now be done by having clients drop off their tax documents at their assigned site, and then clients will be contacted by phone for further service instead of sitting with the preparer as it has been done in the past.

In-home Weatherization program services are temporarily suspended, except for requests for Emergency Heating System Repair and Replacement, which will be handled by phone. Home Repair will also be suspending its in-home services, except for completion of jobs already started. Head Start classes and facilities are closed in compliance with the statewide school closing mandate but will continue to offer services directly to enrolled families via phone, internet, and social media. SEVCA’s Good Buy Thrift stores will be closed starting Friday March 20th, except by appointment for fulfilling emergency vouchers prepared by Family Service staff.  Inquiries for services and appointment requests may continue to be made by calling (802) 722-4575 or (800) 464-9951, or by calling any of our satellite locations in Brattleboro, Springfield, White River Junction, and Windsor.  For information about our program phone numbers, visit https://www.sevca.org/contact/sevca-locations. Stay connected to www.sevca.org for updates about services and timelines.

SEVCA works to find solutions to the deep-seated problems of poverty, largely by empowering and collaborating with those whose lives are affected by it daily. The agency can assist in addressing people's immediate needs for fuel, housing, food, and other essentials to help stabilize their lives in the short term, and provide further tools and support to help them achieve greater financial independence in the longer term. SEVCA recognizes that this is a time of great need and challenge for our communities. Every member of this area is impacted by the actions that we take today. SEVCA will remain diligent and proactive in serving our communities and meeting the growing and changing needs, while keeping both our customers and our staff safe.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Carolyn Sweet

Telephone: 802-722-4575

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: www.sevca.org

SEVCA offers appointments by telephone

Effective Tuesday March 17th, SEVCA will continue to serve Windham and Windsor County residents but will be changing the way it provides services. All services provided by our Family Services staff (e.g., fuel & housing assistance and other crisis intervention services) and by our Economic Development staff (Micro Business, Financial Fitness, Matched Savings, and Ready for Work) will be provided by phone.  Head Start classrooms will close starting Wednesday March 18th in compliance with the statewide school closing mandate.  Weatherization is suspending work in people’s homes for at least until March 20th and possibly longer.  Emergency Heating System Repair / Replacement will continue, following the most recent state guidelines.  We will update you on our Thrift Stores and VITA Tax Preparation programs as soon as those decisions are made.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling our Westminster office – (802) 722-4575 or (800) 464-9951 – or any of our satellite locations in Brattleboro, Springfield, White River Junction and Windsor.  For information about our program phone numbers, visit  https://www.sevca.org/contact/sevca-locations. Stay connected to www.sevca.org for updates about services.

Tax Season is OPEN! FREE help is available.

It is time to think about filing your taxes and SEVCA can help. Through a generous grant from the Granite United Way, the VITA program offers free tax help to community members in both VT and NH who make $66,000 or less, people with disabilities, and limited English speaking taxpaters who need assistance in preparing their own returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return with electronic filing to qualified individuals. 

Another option for most tax payers is to get an early start on their federal tax returns using IRS Free File- featuring brand-name online tax providers which opened on 1/10/2020. Taxpapers whose adjusted gross income was $69,000 or less in 2019-covering most people - can do their taxes now, and the Free File Provider will submit the return once the IRS officially opens the 2020 tax filing season on January 27 and starts processing tax returns.

Here's how each option works.

For FREE Tax preparation, call SEVCA today for an appointment, 800-464-9951 or 802-722-4575. Sites in Westminster, Windsor, and White River Junction. Click HERE for more info. 

If you live in NH, Call 2-1-1 or visit the website, NHTaxHelp.org to schedule an appointment. 

To utilize IRS Free File, here's how it works:

1) Go to IRS.gov/FreeFile to see all Free File options.

2) Browse each of the offers or use a 'look up' tool to help you find the right product. Each Free File partner sets its own eligibility standards generally based on income, age, and state residency. But if the taxpayer's gross adjusted income was $69,000 or less, they will find at least one product to use. 

3) Select a provider and follow the links to their webpage to begin a tax return.

4) Complete and e-file a tax return only if you have all of the income and deduction records you need. The fastest way to get a refund is by filing electronically and selecting direct deposit. If you owe, use direct pay or electronic options.

For more information from the IRS, click here.

FREE Workshop -Basics of Starting a Business

The Basics of Starting a Business

Thinking of starting a business? Wondering what’s involved? Attend a FREE workshop this winter. Offered at Westminster and Brattleboro offices.

Workshop Goals

  • Give a basic understanding of what it takes to start a business
  • Have an open and thorough discussion of various issues pertaining to starting a business
  • Provide enough “Food for Thought” so you can decide whether to proceed with your business idea
  • Decide whether to take the next step…writing your Business Plan                          

 Attend a workshop on one of the following dates-

Westminster - Thursdays January 23, February 13, or March 12 from 10 am- 12 noon

Brattleboro- Wednesdays January 22, February 12, or March 11 from 2pm - 4 pm

Pre-registration is required. Please call Denise at SEVCA 802-722-4575 x150 or 800-464-9951.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead