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Accurate Tax History Crucial for Hispanics’ Health Care and Immigration Futures

February 26, 2014 by  

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WASHINGTON – For many Hispanics, barriers such as language, fraud and misinformation lead the list of complications they face when it comes to filing their tax return, which is a critical tool for healthcare eligibility and impending immigration reforms. To help address Spanish-speaking taxpayers’ needs for trustworthy and credible help, Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) expanded its outreach and educational campaign in partnership with H&R Block, the world’s largest consumer tax services provider.

As part of “Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future), nearly 200 free tax education workshops will be held in 18 markets nationwide. These workshops emphasize the importance of building an accurate tax history, provide insight on how to protect against fraud and misinformation in the tax preparation process, and outline how to meet some important requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and potential immigration rule changes.

“This campaign has helped tens of thousands of Hispanics with concerns about immigration status, past experiences with fraud and inadequate tax preparation,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of HAF. “With the rapid expansion of the Hispanic population, it is essential to provide accurate information and access to bilingual, professional tax experts to successfully navigate the United States tax system. With a better understanding of the filing process, we can strengthen our families, communities and nation.”

While there have been many barriers for Hispanics, the Affordable Care Act provides a new incentive for tackling those challenges. Many people who do not have health insurance may be able to receive a subsidy to help with the cost based on their household income and family size. Eligibility for assistance can be determined from an individual’s 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, a key component of the Affordable Care Act is the health insurance exchange — a marketplace where consumers can shop for a health insurance plan.

“Hispanics have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the country,” said Arce. “While the first step for everyone is to make sure your taxes are in order, for many Hispanics there is a steep learning curve. Not only are we providing education on the tax process, but also on why health insurance is important and how the system operates as a whole.”

In regards to immigration reform, it is expected that both political parties will support a reconciliation of unpaid taxes as a prerequisite on any path to legal residency or citizenship. While plan details are still being discussed, it would 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.

Since 2010, HAF has held over 700 workshops in more than 600 churches and community spaces nationwide. The 2014 campaign will feature workshops through March and another series in the fall.  A complete list of workshop dates and locations is available at www.pormifuturo.org.

EcoFlight’s Flight Across America Student Program Begins Today

November 4, 2013 by  

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EcoFlight’s Flight Across America Student Program

Sergio Duran, Wildlife Biology Student at Arapahoe Community College, Denver CO to accompany EcoFlight on a week-long environmental student program

Monday November 4th – Friday November 8th

EcoFlight, a non-profit based out of Aspen, CO, will be conducting its 10th annual Flight Across America (FLAA) Student Program from Monday, November 4th to Friday, November 8th, 2013.

The focus of this year’s program is the “alphabet soup” of designations and protections of public wild lands and the threats facing wilderness-quality lands in the West.

Using flight and ground-based education, EcoFlight’s FLAA program is designed to involve and inform college age students about current conservation issues from a broad range of perspectives and show them through flight how such issues personally impact their lives and the world around them.

Sergio Duran, an alumnus of Environmental Learning for Kids in Denver will be one of eight college students accompanying EcoFlight on overflights of protected and threatened areas in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. They will meet with national and local conservation organizations, sportsmen, business leaders, government officials, the media, local high schools and Navajo youth along the route.

Sergio intends to share his Flight Across America experience by producing an article for the wider Latino community.

Contact: Krysia Carter-Giez, EcoFlight: [email protected] 970 366 8822

Jane Pargiter, EcoFlight: [email protected] 970 618 5443

Michael Gorman, EcoFlight: [email protected] 970 274 4719

 

Tour Strives to Increase Latino Engagement in National Parks

July 11, 2013 by  

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Hispanic group seeks to boost attendance, protection of four southwestern landmarks

WASHINGTON – While attendance to national parks has been on the decline, a campaign from Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) is looking to engage Latinos in order to boost turnout and to protect these treasures from oil and gas development for future generations. HAF President Maite Arce and her family will complete a 950-mile tour of four national parks and share their journey along the way through a video blog and social media.

“This campaign introduces Latinos to new destinations and shows them how accessible, secure and enjoyable they can be,” said Arce. “And the timing is imperative as each of the four parks is under some level of threat from oil and gas development.”

HAF hopes increased attendance and awareness about threats to these national treasures, such as oil and gas development, pollution and water shortage will encourage Latinos to take an active role in protecting these natural wonders for future generations.

“We’re looking to put conservation on equal ground with oil and gas drilling,” said Arce. “If we don’t have a balanced approach to energy development, future generations will not be able to enjoy the beauty of these parks as they stand today. And it will be that much more difficult to attract Latinos, and other communities for that matter, to these parks.”

Currently, only 9 percent of the nation’s approximately 54 million Latinos visit our country’s national parks each year, according the American Latino Heritage Fund. While reasons for this may vary from transportation to concerns about safety, HAF has found that awareness is one of the biggest barriers to entry.

“Latinos are extremely passionate about their local parks, but we need to translate that enthusiasm to our national park system. By bringing more families into the parks, we’re working to secure these destinations for the future,” said Arce. “While more visitors equates to more park funds, there’s more to it than just the numbers. With Latinos, their passion for the outdoors underscores the roles they can play in the preservation of these natural landmarks.”

The trip, called ”Four Stops, One Destination,” will cover 950 miles beginning with Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado (July 13-16), continuing to Arches National Park in Utah (July 16-17), then to Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park (July 17-20) and ending at Chaco Culture National Park in New Mexico (July 20). Joining Arce will be her husband Ted, sons Luke (18) and Noah (16), and family friend Jonathan (15).

To follow the family’s journey, join us at www.hispanicaccess.org, at twitter.com/HispanicAccess or at facebook.com/HispanicAccessFoundation.

A media kit on the trip is available at http://tinyurl.com/mnnqsou. If you would like to schedule an interview or visit with Maite during their tour, please contact Robert Fanger at 317.410.7668 or [email protected].

Taxes key for Hispanics on health care, immigration future

May 28, 2013 by  

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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

Hispanic Access Foundation applauds Obama’s nomination for Interior Secretary

February 13, 2013 by  

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WASHINGTON – Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) President Maite Arce released the following statement regarding President Obama’s nomination of Sally Jewell, CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc., for Secretary of Interior:

“Sally Jewell is an excellent choice for Interior Secretary. Protecting our parks and public lands, as well as securing clean air and water, is a top issue for Latinos. And it’s one that Ms. Jewell understands on both personal and economic levels.

“As CEO of REI, Ms. Jewell built a track record for fostering the passion of the outdoors in youth and Latinos throughout the country. Her vision to engage Latinos in nature and conservation programs is one that we hope she advances in this new role.

“Ms. Jewell shares the commitment of organizations such as Hispanic Access Foundation to protect the places that matter to our communities and our families. We look forward to working with her to preserve our heritage for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.”

Since its founding in 2010, HAF has made building environmental awareness among Latinos, going outdoors and empowering advocates a top priority. The organization has initiated several projects on the environment including its recent effort to raise awareness about extending protection to Browns Canyon in Colorado and exposing Latinos to the outdoors. As part of that project, HAF took over 60 Hispanic youth to that area for a weekend of camping and rafting, and then brought a dozen youth to Washington to speak with legislators, the White House and the National Park Service director.

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