Tax Help, Access to Possible Refunds, Offered to Homeless at UGM
(Vancouver) – David Hamilton never dreamed he was entitled to a $3,000 tax refund. The 54-year-old homeless man hadn’t filed taxes for 3 years while on the street and struggling to survive, until a Downtown Eastside volunteer helped him access the funds he was owed.
“I had a smile on my face for weeks,” says Hamilton, who used the money to buy food for his children this year. “That was like having Christmas and Halloween all together…I’m smiling from ear to ear.”
Dozens of other eligible Vancouver residents will have the chance to access help filing tax returns this week, when the CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) visits Union Gospel Mission’s ‘Summer Connect’ event. A partnership between the CRA and community organizations, the CVITP provides free tax filing services for eligible individuals, and helps mitigate barriers that modest income Canadians may face when filing taxes. Often, these individuals will receive a refund or benefit payment to which they are entitled.
"Filing a tax return opens the door to benefits that can make all the difference in the lives of those who need them the most. I am wholeheartedly committed to ensuring that vulnerable Canadians get the benefits and credits they are entitled to,” says the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue. “We will continue to improve access to benefits and credits for vulnerable populations by partnering with community organizations like the Union Gospel Mission and continuing our in-person outreach efforts to educate and raise awareness of the benefits and credits available. I want to thank the dedicated volunteers from the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program for their efforts, and for showing what can be accomplished when Canadians help each other."
The CRA is one of 40 organizations offering services on Wednesday, June 13th, with an aim to streamline access to vital supports. Everything from wheelchair repair to mental health supports will be available during the 4 hour event, including hair styling, foot care, and help with housing or recovery programs. Princess Avenue will be shut down to accommodate dozens of booths and more than 1,500 attendees. The event is sponsored by 700 Club Canada.
“Navigating the system of supports can seem overwhelming, especially if you are living on the edge,” says Union Gospel Mission’s Jeremy Hunka. “If you were to separately look for things like tax help, literacy training, housing supports, or bike repair the process could take days or weeks. This event brings it all together so guests can make strides in one day, at one time.”
Date: Wednesday, June 13th
Time: 11:00 – 3:00
Where: UGM Main Location, 601 East Hastings (@ Princess)
Cell: (604) 996-1417
ABOUT UNION GOSPEL MISSION
Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for more than 77 years. Through its seven locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides meals, emergency shelter, career development counselling, clothing, education, safe housing, alcohol and drug recovery, and more to those struggling with poverty, homelessness and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild lives, and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To learn more, visit www.ugm.ca.
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