United Way Community Update

CEO Corner: Welcome New Staff Members

United Way of Chester County is thrilled to welcome three new employees to its team: 

 We are grateful to have them onboard! Doug and Christina recently did an interview with VISTA.TODAY. Read the article here.

Thank you, Pat!

We would like to acknowledge the contributions that Pat Beans has made to our organization over the past 23 years. She was the face that first greeted you at our office, the voice you heard when you called, and the caring and compassionate listener to those that called United Way for help. Pat’s commitment to the mission of United Way has been unrivaled. We wish her the best in her future endeavors and hope that she comes back to visit often. Best wishes Pat!

Community Connection: Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Thanks to our partnership with Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (LASP), our clients who participate in the Mobile Home Tax Reassessment program receive free civic legal aid and are represented by LASP at the reassessment hearing. United Way of Chester County and other program partners complete and file the appeal, including payment of the book valuation (appraisal) and county filing fees. The client does not have to face the appeal board – this program does that for them. 

Although some progress has been made, there is still work to do. There are 3,600 mobile homes in Chester County and only about 19% have been reassessed in the last five years. 

To learn more about the Mobile Home Tax Reassessment project, click here or contact Darshana Shyamsunder, Director, Community Impact Initiatives, at 610.429.9400 ext. 4112. If you are interested in financially supporting this initiative, please contact Doug Kaiser, Director of Resource Development, at 610.429.9400 ext. 4102.

United Way Financial Stability Center: Partner Highlight: Life Transforming Ministries 

With the help of our partners, United Way Financial Stability Center helps its clients to navigate a path toward a more secure financial future

Acting upon the needs of visitors to its Transformation Center in Coatesville, Life Transforming Ministries (LTM) launched its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in 2004. This program provides free tax preparation for low to moderate income households and serves people at sites in communities throughout Chester County. LTM VITA also helps to recruit and train volunteers who must pass an IRS examination to complete tax returns. “I believe what makes this program so successful is that our volunteers are truly passionate about helping those in need in our community,” said Bill Shaw, Executive Director of Life Transforming Ministries. “One of my favorite client stories was a father with several kids that came to our facility on April 15 and unexpectedly walked away with a $10,000+ refund!” Since opening its door, LTM VITA has helped more than 35,000 people file their taxes. If you think your household income is low to moderate, take advantage of this free tax program to file today. Service locations include Honey Brook, West Grove, Coatesville, Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Pottstown, Phoenixville and Royersford. 

  • Taxes are prepared by IRS-Certified Volunteers
  • Absolutely no fees
  • Fast refunds with direct deposit
  • File online or drop off services available
  • Services may be restricted by tax form and income

This program is made possible in part with a grant from the United States IRS and funding from the United Way of Chester County Community Impact and Innovation Fund. To learn more about LTM VITA, click here. To learn how you can financially support this program, contact Doug Kaiser, Director of Resource Development, at 610.429.9400 ext. 4102.

Who is ALICE?

While United Ways have always known ALICE (an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), and have in fact been serving the ALICE population for decades, there was never a good measure to quantify just how many Pennsylvania households were struggling to make ends meet for their most basic needs. United Ways wanted to give this population a voice which is backed by data, to help us all understand the hardships ALICE is facing.

The ALICE Report for Pennsylvania describes the population called ALICE – working families with income above the Federal Poverty Level, but not high enough to afford basic household necessities. With the cost of living higher than what most people earn, ALICE households live in every county in Pennsylvania and they include women and men, young and old, of all races and ethnicities.

Although Chester County is the wealthiest county in Pennsylvania, there is still a poverty rate of 7%. The real need in our community becomes clearer when we consider there is an additional 20% rate of ALICE households. Coupled with those under the poverty line, more than 1 in 4 Chester County residents are unable to make ends meet. The biggest impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been on the ALICE population.

To learn more about ALICE, click here. To learn how you can financially support ALICE, contact Doug Kaiser, Director of Resource Development, at 610.429.9400 ext. 4102.