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Halloween Ball VITA
September 25, 2019
Are you interested in receiving free tax preparation through HWCLI’s Virtual VITA Program? You’ve come to the right place! HWCLI’s Virtual VITA program is generously supported by Citi Community Development. Additional support is provided by Bank of America, Capital 1, and Bridgehampton National Bank. Here is everything you need to know about HWCLI’s 2019 Virtual VITA Program: When Does It Start? You can prepare your 2018 taxes with us starting January 29, 2019. You can prepare taxes from 2015, 2016, 2017 starting March 1, 2019. Eligibility: If your household income was less than $55,000 in 2018, you could qualify for completely free tax preparation! How Does it Work? The Virtual VITA program utilizes technology to connect the taxpayer and tax preparer. The process is quick and simple. Make an appointment at our main office in Melville or any of our intake sites across Nassau and Suffolk Counties. 1. HWCLI staff will scan your tax documents to our secure online system and assist you in completing the intake forms. 2. Documents are uploaded to our secure online system. 3. An offsite tax preparer from the Food Bank for NYC will call you within three business days to complete your return over the phone. They will confirm your identity, discuss your income, expenses, any money owed, as well as if you qualify for a refund or tax credits. 4. If you have an email address, you can sign your return right from your smartphone or tablet. Or, return to the site to sign and file your return. What Do I Bring? Here are all the documents you need to bring to file your taxes through HWCLI’s Virtual VITA Program. *Joint returns require both filers to be present to sign the return* You MUST bring Social Security Cards or ITIN for all people on the tax return Valid Photo Identification (You and your spouse, if you are filing jointly) W-2 for all jobs you had in 2018 Voided check and/or savings account number if you want direct deposit of your refund. (Optional) Form 1099-R or SSA if you receive a pension or Social Security Form 1099-G if you received unemployment benefits If you have educational expenses, bring the 1098-T or 1098-E form Interest and dividend statements from banks (Form 1099– DIV or INT) Total paid for child care & child care providers tax ID or Social Security Number of child care provider Form 1098—Mortgage interest and property taxes NEW: If you purchased health insurance through the New York State of Health Marketplace, bring form 1095-A or B _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Limitations: We cannot prepare your taxes if you have: Any of the following income: rent income (Scheduled E), royalties, partnerships, trust or farm income. Tax returns for ministers or members of the clergy. Moving expenses or HSA. Form 4797 Sales of Business Property. Self-employed health insurance deductions. Domestic production activities (form 8903). Credits from forms 2439, 8839 and 8885. Federal tax fuel Scheduled for 4136. Household employment Scheduled H. PR income, Foreign Earned Income exemption (forms 2555/2555-EZ). Adoption Credit. Out of state returns or part-year residents of NYS.
September 25, 2019
If you made less than $54,000 in 2017, you may be eligible for free tax preparation assistance through the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island’s Virtual VITA program. It’s fast, easy and free! For more information or for times and locations call 516-505-4430.
September 25, 2019
Thank you again to everybody who came out to Oheka Castle to make the HWCLI’s 1st Annual Halloween Ball a spooktacular success! We are thrilled that so many guests participated in the raffle, and it was so fun to see the winners’ excited faces. The full list of winning tickets is below, so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you won but did not take home your prize.
September 25, 2019
Virtual VITA Season is officially upon us! If you made less than $54,000 in 2017, you may be eligible for free tax preparation assistance through the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island’s Virtual VITA program. It’s fast, easy and free! For more information or for times and locations call 516-505-4430. See below for bilingual flyers and resources. The Health & Welfare Council of Long Island has the ability to assist individuals in English, Spanish and Haitian-Creole.
Direct Services Healthcare Access
January 29, 2020
[site-url] All but a few New Yorkers enrolling for 2020 coverage under the Affordable Care Act will not see an increase in their premiums, state officials said. Enrollment in the state health insurance marketplace begins Friday. Only those who earn too much money to qualify for subsidies under the law — more than $103,000 a year for a family of four — will see increases in premiums, said Danielle Holahan, deputy director of the state’s marketplace, New York State of Health. Those people, who comprise less than 2% of New Yorkers who receive coverage under the law, will see an average 6.8% increase, she said. The new enrollment comes as the Trump administration is asking a federal appeals court in New Orleans to declare the ACA — commonly known as Obamacare — unconstitutional. Trump ran in 2016 on a promise to repeal the law, but efforts in Congress to do so have failed. Even so, the Trump administration slashed funding to promote ACA enrollment. New York, on the other hand, will spend $43 million on promotion for 2020 and on “navigators,” who help people apply for coverage, under the ACA, Medicaid or Child Health Plus, the state’s insurance program for children. “We’re more committed than ever, with all these attacks from Washington on the ACA,” Holahan said. Navigator Donna Vargas, with the Melville-based Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, said many people have little knowledge about subsidies. “I try to evaluate their situation, their household size and their income, and we try to find out what programs they’re eligible for,” she said as she sat with a client Thursday at the Family Service League’s Manor Field Family Center in Huntington Station. The client, Michael Reyes, 21, of Huntington Station, said he was there in part to seek coverage for his son, Matheo, 2. Vargas enrolled Matheo on the spot in Child Health Plus. Health care premiums are on a sliding scale. For example, according to the state: A Long Islander with an annual income of $30,000 could obtain individual insurance for as little as $25 a month for a high-deductible plan, or for as little as $198 a month for a plan with lower deductibles. A Long Island family of four with an annual income of $75,000 would be eligible for coverage under the ACA and Child Health Plus. The parents would pay as little as $249 a month for a high-deductible ACA plan for themselves and as little as $596 a month for a plan with lower deductibles. Monthly premiums would be $30 for each child. People with incomes up to $18,735 for an individual and $38,625 for a family of four are eligible for free coverage under Medicaid or with the “essential plan” under the ACA. New York is one of only two states with an “essential plan,” which is for people with relatively low incomes but who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, Holahan said. They pay either no premiums or, for those who earn up to $51,500 a year for a family of four, $20 monthly premiums. The “essential plan” is key because some people who can afford premiums under lower-cost ACA insurance cannot afford the high deductibles and copays, said Dr. Arthur Fougner, president of the Westbury-based Medical Society of the State of New York and a Manhasset OB-GYN. The essential plan has no annual deductibles. The stabilization of ACA premiums statewide and nationally came after a spike in premiums some years as insurers figured out who was enrolling in ACA plans, and their risk levels, said Sara Collins, a vice president at the Commonwealth Fund, a Manhattan-based health care foundation. With that experience, “What is likely going to happen over the next several years is premiums will rise at the rate of health care cost inflation,” she said. Yet the Trump administration’s efforts to overturn the ACA and the national rhetoric against the law is confusing some people who may be eligible for ACA subsidies, said Rebecca Sanin, president and CEO of the Health and Welfare Council. Some may not apply, thinking the program is dead or dying. Others currently with ACA coverage may fear the program is ending, “And they will start thinking about rationing their medications so they last longer,” she said. AFFORDABLE CARE ACT Affordable Care Act open enrollment begins Friday. It continues until Dec. 15 for those who want coverage beginning Jan. 1 and until Jan. 31 for those who want coverage beginning March 1. Subsidies are available to many applicants, based on income and household size. Some people are eligible for free coverage. To find out more about monthly premiums and what programs and subsidies you may be eligible for, go to nystateofhealth.ny.gov or call 855-355-5777.
2020 Census Coalitions
January 29, 2020
Ah, the start of a new year, when people (and companies) consider some major decisions that could improve both prosperity and quality of life (or business). If entire regions could make New Year’s Resolutions, I’d recommend these two workforce development-related commitments for Long Island: develop and deploy an Island-wide strategy that helps employers clear barriers created by online applications (more skills-based hiring, less “degree inflation”), and leverage the networking capabilities of those same Island employers to help achieve an accurate count for the 2020 U.S. Census. These two actions will widen Long Island’s talent pipeline, foster new workforce-training resources and otherwise remove barriers to regional employment. One of the single-biggest barriers to employment is the online hiring process. The Internet and social media make it easy to inform more candidates about open positions and have certainly eased the burden of sorting through résumés; they’ve also had the unintended consequence of creating real employment hurdles. Online applications rely on employers selecting the criteria that help identify whether a candidate should be considered. Employers often use college-degree requirements to weed out lesser candidates – but many in the HR world will tell you a degree isn’t always required, simply an artificial barrier that often eliminates experienced candidates with the right skills. Further, many people with college degrees can’t get jobs because the work “requires” specific degree types, or some precise work experience. Military veterans cite similar challenges aligning their service experiences with specific industry requirements. Skills- and competency-based hiring strategies directly address these challenges, benefitting companies and job seekers both with and without degrees. And with a clearer understanding of specific industry competency requirements, educators and community-based organizations can expand their ability to recruit for larger employers. Harvard Business School’s Managing the Future of Work project explores this in depth, engaging various partners with the tools needed to bolster their workforces. According to “Dismissed by Degrees,” an article published by project, “reversing degree inflation requires the company to design new tools that value a non-graduate candidate’s work experience, competencies and potential.” Among the recommended steps for employers: adjust job descriptions to focus on core competencies, explore resources provided by Washington-based Grads of Life and other global partners, and reconsider the entire candidate-vetting process. Long Island has a robust workforce-development ecosystem, including our educational institutions, various job centers and plenty of community-based organizations. Funding for new programs that develop skills in the emerging workforce will be driven by the 2020 Census. The census helps with the equitable distribution of federal and state funds for educational programs, community healthcare efforts, new law enforcement officers and highway construction. Funding for public schools and regional workforce-development programs is tied directly to population – not just the number of people, which is critical, but demographic specifics. Workforce legislation prioritizes “target populations” for training resources. Without an accurate count that reflects how many people actually live on Long Island, where they live and who they are, critical education and workforce-development funding may be reduced. “The campaign for a Complete Count is motivated by the simple truth that every single one of us counts,” notes Rebecca Sanin, CEO of the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island. “We get one chance every 10 years to ensure that Long Island receives its fair share of funding, resources and representation … the stakes couldn’t be higher. “If we don’t count our families, we render them invisible for the next 10 years,” Sanin adds, “and we can count on overcrowded classrooms, congested and neglected highways, underfunded hospitals and empty storefronts.” Businesses are in the perfect position to educate employees on the importance of the census, and even help them complete it. Tens of thousands of Long Islanders already trust their employers with their personal information – and make a mental connection between that information and their livelihood. To that end, businesses can dedicate a computer terminal in the lunchroom to census instruction and completion, hold information sessions, provide copies of Long Island Counts – the HWCLI and Nassau County Comptroller Office’s July 2019 census preview – and even provide incentives for census participation. Removing barriers between employers and Long Island’s extraordinary talent pool, and making sure the Island gets its fair share of federal funding via the 2020 Census, couldn’t be more important. In the words of my favorite green guru, “Do or do not, Long Island … there is no try.” The actions we take right now, the priorities we set, will shape the next decade. Rosalie Drago is Long Island regional director for the Workforce Development Institute, a statewide nonprofit focused on job creation and retention.
2020 Census Coalitions
January 29, 2020
With two months to go before the U.S. Census Bureau begins inviting residents to respond to the 2020 Census, government officials in Nassau and Suffolk counties, hundreds of organizations and a local philanthropic group are collaborating on a strategy to motivate Long Islanders to answer that call. The once-a-decade census is mandated by the Constitution and affects the distribution of $675 billion annually in federal funding for a myriad of programs, as well as the number of each state's congressional representatives. "People are going to start hearing from the Census Bureau in March," said Rebecca Sanin, who is coordinating Long Island's "Complete Count" effort. Change is coming in the way people can interact with the census. For the first time, people will have three options: mail, phone or online. Government and philanthropic organizations have money designated to educate and help the public with the census. New York plans to make $20 million available to localities — $15 million of which already has been earmarked for the state's 62 counties — as part of a $60 million campaign involving dozens of state agencies, public authorities and SUNY and CUNY, said Jack Sterne, press secretary for Empire State Development. Long Island is poised to get $1.6 million of that money — just over $1.019 million for Suffolk and $664,109 for Nassau, Sterne said. In addition, a philanthropic entity, The New York State Census Equity Fund, housed at the New York Community Trust, has distributed nearly $2 million to nonprofits across the state, including Long Island. And the Census Bureau this month started a $500 million public education and outreach campaign. "Census Day is April 1, and the census [response] is going to go through August … so we have to do everything in our power to make sure people are ready and are excited, because we've created a culture of momentum to get people to complete the 2020 Census," Sanin said at a People of Color subcommittee meeting at her office earlier this month. Sanin is president and chief executive of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, a nonprofit that advocates for and assists poor and vulnerable people, as well as the agencies that help them. That subcommittee — one of 11 — is planning far-reaching census outreach campaigns, from media ads to encourage people to apply for census taker jobs, to enlisting local colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities, even barber shops and hair salons for help. Tracey Edwards, Long Island regional director of the NAACP, who is a member of the People of Color subcommittee, called barbershops and hair salons "key influencers, because we all know that when you go to the barber shop and hair salon, lots of stuff gets talked about in there. And they are our unsung community leaders," which brought a chorus of agreement from nearly 20 subcommittee members gathered in a conference room in the Huntington Station office of the Health and Welfare Council. Other subcommittees are targeting other groups, such as immigrants. "We have built a census army of over 300 organizations that include business leaders, education leaders, faith-based leaders and associations, nonprofits. It's a multi-stakeholder army," Sanin said in a later interview. According to census data, Suffolk and Nassau are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, of the hardest-to-count counties in the state because of a high proportion of groups that are typically undercounted: minorities, children under age 5, and immigrants. "Census Ambassadors" from local groups are crucial. "They are the trusted messengers in the communities," Vanessa Baird-Streeter, Suffolk's assistant deputy county executive, said in an interview. That's why we've been working with them for the past year, making sure everyone is up to speed, understanding the importance of the census. "Now you need boots on the ground," added Baird-Streeter, who also participated in the People of Color subcommittee meeting. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in an interview: The "nonprofits are really our partners. We are relying on them to reassure people who might not trust government that it's incredibly important to be counted … We want to indicate to our community what's in it for them" to answer the census. "We could lose out on school dollars, SNAP benefits. We also could lose out on congressional representation." New York lost two congressional seats after the 2010 census and now has 27. Both Curran and Baird-Streeter noted their counties had updated the Census Bureau's master address lists with thousands of additional addresses in preparation of the count. The bureau accepted nearly 4,500 addresses in Nassau and 9,400 in Suffolk, they said. Long Island officials are now waiting on the state to send the counties the application for census grants. Sterne, the Empire State Development press secretary, said in an emailed statement that the state's "Census Agencies," naming ESD and the departments of labor and state, "are working to finalize the funding process with counties for the $15 [million] for hard-to-count communities as quickly as possible." Also involved in census efforts is the philanthropic community, which "really has kind of stepped in to try to help organizations across the state to raise awareness to try to get these historically undercounted populations to be counted and not be afraid to be counted," said Sol Marie Alfonso-Jones, senior program officer with the Long Island Community Foundation, an affiliate of the New York Community Trust. Alfonso-Jones said $425,000 of the nearly $2 million census equity fund went to Long Island, with the LICF putting in an additional $25,000 for the establishment of complete count committees. Baird-Streeter said Suffolk legislators have approved using the LICF as the conduit through which to distribute the state census grants to nonprofits, which also needs state approval. Curran said Nassau is "looking at the Suffolk model to see how, if and when we get the grant, we can best get it out to the groups." WHAT'S AT STAKE IN 2020 CENSUS $675 billion annually in federal funds each year for many programs, including: Medicaid, Medicare Part B, Section 8 Housing Vouchers, Highway planning and construction, Special Education grants, Childhood Health Insurance Program, National School Lunch Program, Head Start/Early Head Start, and Foster Care. An undercount can mean programs are underfunded for people who need them, according to the Long Island Counts 2020 Census Report. Each state's congressional apportionment. New York lost two congressional seats after redistricting, based on the 2010 Census. New York now has 27 congressional representatives.
October 1, 2019
The Northern Atlantic hurricane season, which spans from June 1 to November 30, is right around the corner, and the 2016 hurricane season is expected to be the most active since 2012 – the year that Superstorm Sandy hit Long Island. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that “it only takes one storm to change your life and community”, and so this week – Hurricane Preparedness Week – NOAA offers daily tips focusing on specific preparedness measures everyone should take. Sunday, May 15: Determine your risk Monday, May 16: Develop an evacuation plan Tuesday, May 17: Secure an insurance check-up Wednesday, May 18: Assemble disaster supplies Thursday, May 19: Strengthen your home Friday, May 20: Identify your trusted source of information for a hurricane event Saturday, May 21: Complete your written hurricane plan NOAA also offers pre-written text as well as images that you can share on your social media platforms. View them by clicking here. An example of their shareable content, “5 Things to Know About Hurricane Hazard Risks” is embedded below.
September 24, 2019
We are very excited to announce that we will be honoring two young stewards of social justice on Long Island at our first-ever Halloween Ball at Oheka Castle. 10-year-old Jack McNamara and 16-year-old Myrka Argueta are actively trying to make their communities and Long Island as a whole, a better place. We could not be happier to honor these two young movers and shakers. Image Source: http://www.hwcli.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/HWCLIs-Halloween-Ball-Honorees-1-724x1024.jpg
September 13, 2019
We Have a Winner! After 133 submissions and over 1,300 votes- we have a winner and two runners-up for the 2020 Census Logo Contest! All of the logo submissions we received were overflowing with creativity and we are so grateful to all of the young artists who shared their vision for the 2020 Census with us! Nicole's winning logo will be used across all of our regional branding materials as we work together to get out the word about the 2020 Census and everything it impacts. In recognition of her work, Nicole will win a day of professional shadowing at Rubenstein Public Relations, a premier PR firm located in New York City. We are proud to also celebrate Gabby Palumbo and Eduardo Ruela Dutra, whose designs qualified as runner-ups! Thank you to all of the students who participated and to all who helped make this contest a success! We are excited to continue our work together to raise awareness and build enthusiasm around the 2020 Census to ensure that our region is fully and accurately counted next year. First Runner Up: Gabby Palumbo, Grade 12, Mineola High School Second Runner Up: Eduardo Ruela Dutra, Grade 10, Mineola High School
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Established in 1947, the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island (HWCLI) is a regional, nonprofit umbrella organization for health and human service providers. We are dedicated to improving the lives of Long Island’s most vulnerable residents by responding to their needs through the promotion and development of public policies and direct services.
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