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Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness

Letter in support of increased FY2011 appropriations for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites Grant Program

One of the obvious sources of homelessness is the gap between low incomes and high costs of living. To rent a two-bedroom apartment atin Mercer County at Fair Market ren requires an income of over $23.50 .an hour. Low-income workers need enough funds to pay their basic bills in order to stay in their homes, which are often too expensive for them in the first place. The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness has identified the Federal and NJ State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as the most-important source for homelessness prevention for this target population.

We work with the IRS to train volunteers to do free tax returns at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, manage 5 of the 22 sites in Mercer County and conduct outreach and marketing for the whole county. Last year, $41M came back to Mercer County residents through this source.

Today, we need your help in mobilizing Senate support for increased funding for the program that makes this work possible: the VITA Grant Program. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter in support of increased FY2011 appropriations for the VITA Grant Program. The letter will be sent to the Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, which determines the size of the grant. Please ask our NJ Senators to sign on.

NJ Senate Contact Information

Lautenberg, Frank R. - (D - NJ) Class II
(202) 224-3224
Web Form: lautenberg.senate.gov/contact/routing.cfm

Menendez, Robert - (D - NJ) Class I
(202) 224-4744
Web Form: menendez.senate.gov/contact/

The deadline to collect signatures on the Dear Colleague letter has been extended to noon on Friday, June 25th

Thank you for your commitment to preventing and ending homelessness!

Together, we can, we must, we will end homelessness in Mercer County.


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