2-1-1 Featured Agency: Center for Community Resources, Inc., VITA

“When people come to the center through PA 2-1-1 Southwest, we can help them identify other agencies that can also benefit them.”

The Center for Community Resources serves community members in need in Butler County and throughout Western PA. The agency coordinates supportive services that help people who are struggling with needs such as mental health, financial literacy, and substance abuse. The center is also part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, where all of their referrals come from United Way’s PA 2-1-1 Southwest.

“We’ve done close to 2,300 tax returns this season,” said Program Specialist and VITA Coordinator Jean Bowen. “All of our appointments come through 2-1-1.”

The tax assistance program has helped individuals in the community keep their homes, have heat for the winter, and learn how to budget their resources. Something Jean has found extremely rewarding throughout her time with the center.

“The tax program has such an impact on people’s lives,” Jean said. “I hope it can continue to grow through 2-1-1 and make a positive impact in our community.”

“When scheduling an appointment for free tax help, households can also get connected to other valuable services,” Kiandra Foster, program manager, Helping Families Thrive, United Way of Southwestern PA. “The partnership between the tax program and 2-1-1 serves as a way to connect community members to the array of services that can help them achieve financial stability.”

When people are referred by 2-1-1 for tax help, it opens the door for the center to reach out and help with other needs they might have. “Our Executive Director Michael Robb said it best, ‘There’s no stigma for getting your taxes done, everyone has to do it,’” Bowen said. “’Once we get them in the door for their taxes we can lead them to other services they might need.’”