The families supported by Connections are often judged as unable to parent because of the parent's cognitive challenge. Yet for our families, it is poverty that has a bigger impact on their ability to manage a stable home for their children.
After a year of research, development and obtaining funding, Connections is pleased to provide a Financial Coach to our families. Our first Financial Coach, Doug Jarrett, began in the role in January 2017 and has already had an incredible impact on our families.
One of the first initiatives for our Financial Coach was to support families to file income tax in order to receive a variety of tax credits and incentives offered to low income families. With the support of an on-site, volunteer tax clinic, provided by Canada Revenue Agency, over 70 families had their taxes completed and filed. A number of families had prior years' tax filing outstanding and many had not been properly filed to take advantage of credits available to families in which a family member has a disability. The result of this initiative was to generate over $25,000 in tax credits or refunds to the families who filed.
Another initiative is to support families to register parents and children for the Registered Disability Savings Plan, which is generously supported by government and results in a much more secure retirement and future for people with disabilities.
A key program element is C.A.S.H. -- Creating A Stable Home. This is a multi-session, matched savings program where participants will set a savings goal for a specific purchase or investment, commit to and make a specific, monthly deposit in a savings account, attend each session where various budgeting and tips will be provided. Successful completion of the program results in a 3-to-1 match of the savings.
Connections is grateful to ATB FInancial and First Calgary Financial for donations that provide the matching component of the program.
Our Financial Coach program was shaped by input from Prosper Canada and Momentum in Calgary.
Thank you to FCSS and The City of Calgary for their generous support
of our Financial Coach program.