Becoming Financially Independent
TAP’s Financial Services component offers a way for clients to become financially independent through an array of programs, including offering personal finance coaching, providing small business loans, assisting in the purchase of a house, and maximizing annual tax refunds. Now, perhaps more than ever, these programs are important avenues to give people the opportunities to succeed, even in difficult times.
The last year has been tough on everyone. We were all hoping for a fresh start with the new year, but the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still linger. Communities across the Roanoke Valley and beyond are still feeling the effects of high unemployment, affecting financial independence. Small businesses are struggling to stay afloat. TAP recognizes both the need to help and the need to keep clients and staff safe.
Encouraging entrepreneurs to become financially independent
Financial Services’ business loan and entrepreneurship programs assist businesses ranging from those with several employees to home businesses. Throughout the pandemic we’ve recognized the need to continue these programs.
While we are still providing low-interest loans, business plan assistance, and business coaching, things look a little different. Whenever possible, we are meeting with clients using virtual platforms. If those options aren’t available, we do allow in-person meetings when needed. During these meetings, clients and staff wear face coverings and respect the CDC’s guidelines on social distancing. This way, entrepreneurs can continue to pursue their small business dreams. We can get the economy back on track while keeping safe.
Free tax assistance
Each year, TAP offers free tax return preparation at its annual Tax Clinic. A team of certified tax preparers maximize clients’ refunds and secure any additional deserved benefits, such as earned income tax credits. The 2021 Tax Clinic opens on February 5, but this year, we are offering no-contact tax preparation. Taxpayers can either set up a virtual appointment or use our drop-off services. For the latter, clients schedule a drop-off time, collect the necessary tax information, drop it at the Dumas Center, and return for confirmation of filing. Despite the challenges, we expect to serve the same number of clients, assisting them in receiving their maximum refund quickly, easily, and safely.
TAP’s Housing Counseling services help clients purchase their first homes through free workshops and one-on-one counseling. The program also offers down payment assistance for eligible clients as well as mortgage default and foreclosure prevention assistance. This year, our popular homebuyer workshops have moved online. In partnership with Virginia Housing, we are offering self-paced modules that go over the ins and outs of buying your first home. For potential homebuyers with more specific needs, our certified housing counselor continues one-on-one appointments. These sessions can be scheduled virtually through several platforms or in-person as space allows for proper social distancing.
We know that the community is struggling right now. Things are different but we are working hard to provide the same services to anyone who needs it and to do it safely. Community donations make this possible. Find out more about supporting TAP’s Financial Services or other TAP programs.