Empowering low and moderate income people to financial health

01/13/10 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Wednesday) | Listen to this entire show:

On this segment: Community Wealth Building with Cherin Stover and former USF professor Darryl Nelson. "Wealth building" essentially involves the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) which is considered the most effective anti -poverty program in the US. The Wealth Building Coalition (WBC) is partially funded by the Juvenile Welfare Board and teaches low income residents about money management. They have over 30 tax preparation sites in Pinellas that provide free tax services. One of their goals is to get low income residents to stop using tax firms that give an immediate refund, but take about 40% of that as part of their fee. Residents are also taught about not doing check cashing at firms that charege high fees.

Their latest effort is banking the unbanked. St. Pete is the first city in Fla to start this program. Many of the local banks have agreed to waive many of their normal fees to bank the unbanked. The savings from EITC and Bank on St. Pete Program amount to huge savings for low income residents over their lifetime. It is literally life changing.

For more information call "211," the local social service hotline number. Also- for information about banks and credit unions willing to work with low income people call the City of St. Petersburg Economic Development Department. For free tax preparation call your local AARP office.

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