News

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.

Energy Savings Celebrated at SEVCA’s Solar Program Kickoff and Annual Celebration

 On September 16, members of the community gathered to celebrate the launch of Southeastern Vermont Community Action’s (SEVCA’s) Community Solar for Community Action (CS4CA) program, which will help reduce the excessive energy burdens of at least 50 households with low incomes by providing virtual credits on their electricity accounts. Complementing its home Weatherization and Crisis Fuel programs, CS4CA will be an important new tool in SEVCA’s efforts to ensure that vulnerable households can meet their energy needs now and in the future. A number of CS4CA subscribers who will benefit from the project were in attendance.

The event featured presentations by Haley Pero, representing the Office of Senator Bernie Sanders; Vicki O’Day, representing the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL); and Steve Geller, SEVCA’s Executive Director. Presenters reflected on the importance of creating renewable energy solutions, like community solar projects, that were accessible to households that did not have the means to install their own solar panels. RREAL and SEVCA are working to promote national expansion of the model, proposing that the extensive network of Community Action agencies throughout the country could play a key role. SEVCA’s solar array, fully completed in May, has produced over 70,000 kWh of electricity so far, with an estimated annual yield of almost 120,000 kWh annually. The expected energy savings for each participating household is estimated at $400/year.

SEVCA worked in partnership for over a year with the Minnesota-based Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) to develop this Community Solar for Community Action (CS4CA) project, as part of the national Solar in Your Community Challenge, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). SEVCA’s is one of several community solar projects RREAL developed during the competition period, and RREAL was awarded the runner-up prize in the competition. Catamount Solar, a Vermont-based, employee-owned solar contractor, was selected to install the array.

SEVCA would like to thank all of its project supporters, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the Windham Regional Commission, the Thompson Trust, VLITE, the Vermont Community Foundation, and the dozens of local contributors who made this project possible. To find out more, contact Daniel Quipp at 802 254 2795, ext. 103, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Exercise Your Savings Skills and Get Your Finances in Shape This Fall!

SEVCA is inviting participants to register for its upcoming “Financial Fitness” workshop series, to be held in Brattleboro starting September 10. This 7-part workshop series will help participants improve their relationship with money, develop strong financial habits, and take steps toward prosperity. SEVCA’s instructors will utilize tools from the acclaimed Your Money Your Goals curriculum developed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Topics covered include: saving, budgeting, credit, home buying, insurance, purchasing a car, and saving for college. The instructor will also provide individualized financial coaching, as needed, to help participants and their families become more financially secure.

The workshop series is free and open to the public. It will be held every Tuesday at Red Clover Commons, 30 Fairground Rd., Brattleboro from 5:30-7 p.m. from September 10 through October 22. Pre-registration is required. Please call to register at 802-722-4575, ext. 151, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Those who complete the course may be eligible to join SEVCA’s SaVermont matched savings program. Participants earn a match for every $1 they save (up to $1,000) if they save a minimum of $25 each month toward home purchases or repairs, obtaining education or job training, starting or enhancing their own business, or car purchases or repairs needed for transportation to work.

Last Updated: August 19, 2019

Keeping Kids and Families Fed During the Summer Months

3SquaresVT helps make sure that people in need don’t go hungry by providing monthly food assistance to eligible families and individuals through a user-friendly EBT card. Eligibility is determined by household income; for example, a family of four with a monthly income of up to $3,970 may be eligible. SEVCA’s Family Services staff are available by appointment to assist households to apply for 3SquaresVT. To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-464-9951. To apply for 3SquaresVT benefits online, visit www.vermontfoodhelp.com.

The children of families who receive 3SquaresVT are automatically eligible for free school lunches, which can help kids maintain their health and their ability to learn. But summer can be a difficult time for many families to meet their nutritional needs. Fortunately, free summer meal programs for children are offered in many communities. Visit Hunger Free Vermont to find a summer meals program, or call SEVCA for help locating a program.

Eating the right food is critical to good health, and additional resources are available to qualified households to help increase the volume of fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets, such as Farm-to-Family coupons and farmer’s market incentive programs.

Farm-to-Family coupons help families in need purchase fresh produce at farmers markets. SEVCA is distributing coupon books worth $30 each to eligible low-income households on a first-come, first served basis. Unfortunately, walk-ins cannot be accommodated. The coupon books go quickly, so interested families and individuals are urged to contact SEVCA at (800) 464-9951 as soon as possible to apply. Coupons must be requested prior to September 30 and redeemed by October 31.

In addition, 3SquaresVT has partnered with farmers’ markets across the state to make sure those receiving benefits can use them to get plenty of fruits and vegetables. To locate a farmers’ market near you that accepts 3SquaresVT, visit: https://www.hungerfreevt.org/farmers-markets-3squaresvt/. Most farmers’ markets also offer a program called “Crop Cash” to 3SquaresVT recipients—for every dollar in 3SquaresVT benefits spent, they will provide $1 of free tokens for use at the market, up to a value of $10/day. Ask if your local farmer’s market participates in the “Crop Cash” program.

“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