WoodGreen’s Financial Wellness program builds financial empowerment
Clinics on financial literacy, income tax, financial wellness and documentation enable people to take charge of their assets
WoodGreen’s financial wellness program helps low income people across all demographics, including seniors, singles, families and newcomers. Through the delivery of four free clinics, people are taught methods of effectively managing their finances and are provided with the right tools for success.
In recognition of the important role that these clinics play in the community, the Ontario Trillium Foundation recently awarded the Financial Wellness Services a three year Grow Grant. The program is also funded by ESDC and the Steps Foundation.
WoodGreen entered into a new partnership with Prosper Canada to integrate financial coaching into WoodGreen’s Employment, Homeward Bound and Settlement units.
This collaboration will build organizational capacity and knowledge on financial wellness, which in turn will increase the amount of direct support and information that front line workers across WoodGreen can provide to clients.
There are four components of WoodGreen’s Financial Wellness program. All of them are offered at no cost to clients.
1. The Financial Literacy Workshops – WoodGreen staff and volunteers deliver a variety of workshops related to Financial Literacy, including debt, retirement and income tax. The workshops are delivered at WoodGreen offices and a variety of other satellite locations including Toronto Community Housing buildings and libraries.
2. The Income Tax Clinic – Served 3,605 clients and facilitated over $6 million in tax returns in 2015. A small cadre of expert volunteers train other volunteers to prepare simple tax returns and act as a resource throughout tax season. During March and April, there are six clinics offered every week at various locations in the east end. After tax season the Income Tax Clinic continues to operate on a weekly basis to help people with more complex returns and back taxes. The Income Tax Clinic has been in operation for 20 years, and increases in size every year. It takes approximately 150 – 175 volunteers to run WoodGreen’s tax clinic, and involves a specialized on-boarding training process.