Santa Cruz County, CA — Community Bridges over the past year has helped roughly 100 community members access nearly half a million dollars in tax benefits through an extensive tax outreach campaign.
The Santa Cruz County ITIN and Child Tax Credit Project (Project) has assisted eligible families and individuals in filing for their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and Child Tax Credits (CTC), as well as accessing the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits (ETIC).
Since December 2021, 61 individuals and families have either filed for a new ITIN or renewed their number through the Program at Community Bridges’ four Family Resource Collective (FRC) locations across the county. As a result, those ITIN filers accessed approximately $122,000 in IRS refunds, and saved a total of $4,160 in document preparation fees.
In addition, 97 individuals and families have been served and benefited from state and federal EITCs, bringing in an estimated $232,800 to our community.
“Undocumented immigrants across the nation leave billions on the table that they are legally eligible to receive,” Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino stated. “Our goal has always been to improve the well-being of families through creative and focused asset building work such as this project and we are thankful for the support from David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County for their support in sponsoring this program.”
As part of the Project, Community Bridges’ FRC case managers help prospective filers obtain and prepare paperwork and documents to apply for an ITIN using the agency’s paid contractor. Community Bridges then pays for their tax filing fees and also helps prepare them with the contractor. The project has also provided ongoing navigation assistance with public benefits, including but not limited to CalFresh and MediCal.
Simply filing for and obtaining an ITIN, a tax processing number for individuals who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security number, make a person eligible for dozens of supports like the EITC and CTC. This brings in local dollars into the community, strengthens a person’s case for future citizenship reviews, and provides low-income community members needed funds for basic needs, improving local outcomes for individuals and families.
Federal and state EITCs alone keep an estimated 840,000 Californians (including 376,000 children) out of poverty, according to the California Poverty Measure–a research effort by the Public Policy Institute of California and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. And through temporary monthly payments to families with children, the federal CTC lowered poverty by 1.8 points. In addition, the federal EITC lowered poverty by 1.1 points.
Community Bridges’ Project has been essential in providing assistance to community members who often face barriers to navigating essential federal procedures, particularly Santa Cruz County’s undocumented Latine population. According to the latest report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented taxpayers contribute over $21 million in state and local taxes. They also represent 10% of the workforce in California, where their labor has largely fallen into the “essential” category throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In total, Community Bridges has fielded close to 400 calls to our ITIN/EITC helpline and scheduled 167 appointments for Individuals and families seeking to apply for or renew their ITIN.
The project was made possible by a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County.
ABOUT THE FAMILY RESOURCE COLLECTIVE
The compassionate and knowledgeable staff at the four Family Resource Centers (FRCs) offer a warm, friendly, safe place for the Santa Cruz County community to access resources that offer stability and hope for the future. Bi-lingual and bi-cultural advocacy services meet the long and short-term needs of families at no or low cost. FRCs help our community access benefits and resources such as housing, employment, healthcare, disability, unemployment, immigration, mental health counseling, parenting education, literacy education, youth tutoring, substance abuse recovery, domestic violence prevention, nutrition, and child care.
Watsonville: La Manzana Community Resources 521 Main St, Suite Y Watsonville, CA 95076
Live Oak: Live Oak Community Resources 1740 17th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Felton: Mountain Community Resources 6134 Hwy 9, Felton, CA 95018
Santa Cruz: Nueva Vista Community Resources 711 E Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
ABOUT COMMUNITY BRIDGES
Community Bridges envisions a thriving community where every person has the opportunity to unleash their full potential. Together, our family of programs delivers essential services, provides equitable access to resources, and advocates for health and dignity across every stage of life. To learn more, please visit www.communitybridges.org.
The Community Bridges family of programs includes the Child & Adult Care Food Program, Early Education Division, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), La Manzana Community Resources, Live Oak Community Resources, Mountain Community Resources, Nueva Vista Community Resources, Elderday Adult Day Health Care, Lift Line and Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County.