Luis first visited The Unity Council in March 2021 after hearing about our free tax services through our partners at the Spanish Speaking Citizens Foundation.
Before The Unity Council, Luis filed his taxes with a local tax professional for the last ten years, where on average, he spent up to $150 annually. Now that the 64-year-old was laid-off due to the pandemic, he needed to explore options to save money. Luis said, “any money right now saved is good money.”
By filing his taxes through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, Luis was pleased to use his money on critical expenses like rent and utilities. He was also impressed by the quality of service received from the VITA staff.
“For someone like me who needed the free tax help in Spanish, I was in great hands,” Luis said. “They really took care of me like any other tax professional would like explaining to me any technical questions that I would normally not understand, and more.”
After our tax specialists learned he was unemployed, Luis was referred to additional supportive services including our Food Security program. He learned he could receive fresh produce and groceries at no cost through our weekly food distributions. Luis says receiving the food has been a blessing as it fills the gaps once his rent and bills are paid. Since then, he receives food for his family each week at the Fruitvale Transit Village.
With the help of our VITA staff, Luis received a refund, money he is fortunate to receive as it will be used to pay utility expenses.
“I am happy to have found The Unity Council because in my time of need, they were there to help,” Luis said. “Thank you, The Unity Council, for always thinking of what people like me need most.”
Thank you to our partners at United Way Bay Area for helping local taxpayers get the most of their tax refund, especially during this challenging time.