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March 28, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
WASHINGTON, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The 2012 tax return will have major impact for Hispanics, as it can be used in determining eligibility for the Affordable Care Act and immigration reforms will likely require individuals to pay any unpaid taxes. An ongoing project from the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), in partnership with H&R Block, the world’s largest consumer tax services provider, is seeking to educate Hispanics about the U.S. tax system and prepare them for upcoming changes.
“Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future) includes more than 150 free “Tax Talk” seminars across the nation. It emphasizes the importance of building an accurate tax history, provides tools to protect against fraud and misinformation in the tax preparation process, and outlines how to meet the demands of the Affordable Care Act and potential immigration rule changes.
“Hispanics need to have their taxes in order so they don’t miss out on potential benefits,” said Maite Arce, president of HAF. “Since the project’s launch in 2010, we have helped tens of thousands of Hispanics with tax issues, and now they are even more vigilant about building an accurate tax history.”
Starting in 2014, many people who do not have health insurance may be able to receive a subsidy based on their household income and family size to help with the cost. Eligibility for assistance can be determined from an individual’s 2012 tax return, which can also streamline the insurance plan enrollment process with a health insurance exchange. With the individual mandate requiring nearly everyone to have health insurance in 2014, a key component of Affordable Care Act is the health insurance exchange— a marketplace where consumers can shop for a health insurance plan.
As for immigration reform, it is expected that both political parties will support a reconciliation of unpaid taxes as a prerequisite on the path to legal residency or citizenship. While plan details are still being discussed, it will likely require individuals to submit tax documentation for multiple years – an individual will need to provide an accurate tax history as part of the application process.
“With the rapid expansion of the Latino population, it is essential to provide accurate information and access to bilingual tax experts in order to fully integrate Latinos into the tax system,” said Arce. “Our community wants to contribute our fair share. With a better understanding of the process, we can strengthen our families, communities and nation.”
The free “Tax Talk” seminars are scheduled in multiple cities across the country. A complete list of dates and locations is available at www.pormifuturo.org. For more information about HAF visit www.hispanicaccess.org.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/28/5299568/taxes-key-for-hispanics-on-health.html#storylink=cpy
October 24, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
The Hispanic Access Foundation and Environmental Learning for Kids took over 60 youth, including a majority of Latinos, to Colorado’s Browns Canyon in July 2012. The trip inspired many of the students to take action. In September 2012, eleven of the Denver-area high schoolers traveled to Washington, DC to meet with their elected officials, including Sen. Mark Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet, the director of the National Park Service, representatives from the Department of Interior, White House officials and others. This video documents their journey.
October 12, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
By Chelsea Weikart Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — As 19-year-old Annalisa Martinez put it, “It’s our job to be leaders.”
She made the comment after she and a group of her peers from a Catholic parish in Denver met with Colorado’s U.S. senators on Capitol Hill for an environmental cause: urging federal protection for Browns Canyon in Colorado.
Ranging in age from 12 to 19, the Latino youths from Denver’s St. Cajetan Parish and an organization called Environmental Learning for Kids were brought together by the Washington-based Hispanic Access Foundation.
Maite Arce, executive director of the foundation, founded the nonprofit after growing up as the child of Mexican immigrants who had trouble accessing information and resources in their new country.
The foundation has partnerships with mostly faith-based community groups, such as St. Cajetan, to organize events and programs that inform Hispanics about education, voting, the environment and other issues, as well as to promote responsible citizenship and community involvement.
St. Cajetan is one of the oldest Hispanic Catholic parishes in the Denver Archdiocese.
Over a three-day visit in Washington in mid-September, the youths’ schedule included a meeting with Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, both Colorado Democrats, to express their concern for Browns Canyon and to promote scholarships for Hispanic students.
The canyon, southwest of the Denver metro area, is a popular place for hiking, camping, viewing wildlife, fishing and white-water rafting. Udall has proposed that Congress designate it as national monument or wildlife preserve.
It’s a place the youths and many others have grown to love, they said. Last year, the Hispanic Access Foundation and Environmental Learning for Kids sponsored a fishing education day there; 250 families participated in the trip, the first of its kind for many in the group. This past summer, 68 youths and their parents went on a camping trip to the canyon.
Udall has said giving a special designation to Browns Canyon would bring jobs to the state and put the area “on the map” and attract visitors. It also needs protection, advocates say, because illegal roads in the area have led “to erosion and habitat destruction.”
Linda Sosa, a spokeswoman for St. Cajetan, said considers herself a second mother to the seven 12- to 19-year-old girls she brought to Washington.
Hispanic immigrants to the United States “don’t know the systems. I don’t want that for these kids,” she said, adding that the Catholic Church has a role in educating Hispanics about how government works. “The church is more than prayer, we can be the voices outside the church.”
Sosa has taught catechism classes for 30 years at St. Cajetan, which was established in 1922. Her involvement has given her a connection to parish youths.
All but two of the St. Cajetan girls were on their first trip to Washington. Speaking a mix of English and Spanish throughout the day, several of them mentioned to a Catholic News Service reporter they were “missing the mountains.” Money for their trip came from a combination of fundraisers, parish donations and matching funds from the Hispanic Access Foundation.
The summer camping trip to Browns Canyon gave them a chance to see wildlife and to go white-water rafting on the Arkansas River — and it sparked the youths’ interest in protecting the canyon. They began asking Sosa what they could do, which led to her teaming up with the foundation and coordinating the trip and a chance to talk to Udall and Bennet.
Arce told CNS that the group’s interest in the outdoors and the environment is reflected in a 2012 survey on Latinos and the environment, conducted by the Sierra Club and the National Council of La Raza. Nine in 10 respondents said people “have moral responsibility to take care of God’s creation on this earth — the wilderness, and forests, the oceans, lakes and rivers.”
During a picnic lunch in Lafayette Park across from the White House, where they headed later that afternoon to talk to staffers, Annalisa Martinez told CNS that Udall and Bennet “were very involved in hearing what we had to say.”
The oldest in the group, she is finishing an associate’s degree in early childhood education.
Her niece, 12 year-old Anastasia Martinez was the youngest. She’d like to become a geologist or horse trainer.
“My mother and I grew up in those mountains,” she said. “If they were destroyed it would break our hearts.”
Jennie Hurrieta, 17, told CNS the group had a lot of support from St. Cajetan Parish, especially from its pastor, Theatine Father Tomas Fraile.
“Father Tomas was very supportive, he baptized all of us, he really wants us to succeed,” she said, adding that the priest encourages them to be leaders in their community and their church. “This world isn’t ours, it’s God’s, we are preserving it for future generations,” she added.
“Linda Sosa and the students are doing a wonderful job going to D.C. and talking to senators,” Father Fraile told CNS later in a telephone interview. “If we Christians and Catholics believe in God, we have a moral responsibility to take care of God’s children the same way we have the responsibility of taking care of the whole of God’s creation.”
Copyright (c) 2012 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
September 17, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
Letter from the Executive Director from 2011 HAF Annual Report
2011 marked the first full-year for Hispanic access Foundation and we have truly been blessed by all of those that have supported us in one-way or another.
Hundreds of leaders in our faith-based and community network took up the torch in transforming information into action. Partners like H&R Block and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recognized the importance of grassroots outreach into Hispanic communities. Thousands of Latino families throughout the country embraced our organization, took advantage of the information in our campaigns and took action to improve their futures.
The bridges that we are building are changing lives.
As you read through this annual Report, it should become apparent that what HAF does in reaching the Hispanic community is unlike any other organization. We’ve developed extensive, trust-filled relationships with Latino churches that provide the access to connect with the community at their level. We’ve gained immediate confidence from large corporations and government branches. We’ve mobilized thousands of individuals through our grassroots outreach. We’ve built community bridges and placed many individuals on the path to a better life.
Our message of responsible citizenship, educational attainment, and active engagement in the improvement of the health, environment, and financial well-being of Latino families is resonating at all levels throughout the United States. and it needs to.
By 2050, the Hispanic population is projected to make up 30 percent of the entire U.S. population. The work that we do now is critical to the long-term prospects of this country as a whole. Hispanics need to understand the U.S. tax system and become responsible taxpayers. Latinos need to become advocates of their health and understand the importance of preventative care. Hispanics need to receive a quality education and gain equal access to higher education opportunities.
But, it’s not just about need. It’s about the future of america and making sure we’re all in position to maximize the potential before us.
Read the complete version of the 2011 Hispanic Access Foundation Annual Report
The Census Bureau released a new way to measure poverty levels earlier this month that shows more Hispanics lived in poverty than any other group in 2010. The new rate measured Hispanic poverty at 28.2% compared to the official poverty rate for this group at 26.7%.
When using the official poverty rate, there were more blacks living in poverty in 2010 than Hispanics or any other group. Even so, regardless of which measure is used, the report shows that Hispanics make up nearly three-in-ten of the nation’s poor.
This alternative measure of poverty—called the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM)— is intended to better reflect the costs of basic living expenses and the resources people have to pay them. It uses a wider range of factors than the official federal measure to determine poverty status.
Some of these additional factors include medical expenses, tax credits, non-cash government benefits (such as food stamps, housing subsidies and school lunch programs) and cost-of-living adjustments for different geographic areas. The alternative measure is not intended to replace the official poverty measure, at least for now. For the foreseeable future, the Census Bureau will report two sets of numbers.
Here are the most notable points from the report:
- Compared with the official measure, SPM figures show a higher national poverty rate for 2010, 16.0%, compared with the official poverty rate of 15.2%.
- The number of poor people in 2010 was 49.1 million using the alternative measure, compared with 46.6 million using the official measure.
- Among the nation’s largest racial and ethnic groups, poverty rates using the alternative measure are higher than official poverty rates for Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites and Asians, but are lower for blacks.
- Hispanics: the SPM poverty rate (28.2%) was 1.5 percentage points higher than the official poverty rate of 26.7%.
- Whites: the SPM poverty rate was 11.1% while the official poverty rate was 10.0%.
- Asians: the SPM poverty rate was 16.7% versus the official poverty rate of 12.1%.
- Blacks: By contrast, the SPM poverty rate for blacks, 25.4% in 2010, was 2.1 percentage points lower than the official poverty rate of 27.5%.
Adapted from a Pew Hispanic Center article published on 11/8/2011 by Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew Hispanic Center Associate Director, and D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research Center Senior Writer.
To see the full report click here.