A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

May 2nd Newsletter – MASSCAP

Massachusetts Association for Community Action

Road to Opportunity: Finding the Way Forward

MASSCAP newsletter – May 2, 2019


  • 10% Poverty Rate and 14% Child Poverty Rate in MA (below Federal Poverty Level).  22% are "Near Poor" and  27% Children "Near Poor" in MA (up to twice federal poverty rate)
  • Most low-income families (2/3 of those in poverty) include a working adult.
  • Wages for low wage workers have barely grown over last 20 years while incomes for the top 1% have more than tripled.
  • 44% of Americans cannot cover a $400 unexpected expense.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) have kept 150,000 people out of poverty in MA by helping them to bridge the wage gap.

More information and access the data: Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward, May 2018

Learn more!  Watch our webinar – What We All Need to Know About Poverty in Massachusetts – featuring report author, Nancy Wagman, Kids Count Director, MassBudget.

POLICY MATTERS: Creating Opportunity

The state support and funding for policies and programs that create opportunity is critical.  We are advocating for policies that strengthen families, bridge the wage gap, create economic opportunity and strengthen the human services infrastructure.

We urge you to support increased resources for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program Sites (1201-0100) - $800,000 - in the FY20 budget, allowing for $10,000 for each VITA site.

Did You Know:

  • There is a network of 80 VITA sites (close to half run by Community Action Agencies) in MA serving +30,000 annually
  • +1,300 Volunteers give +40,000 hours donating +$2M in tax prep services
  • VITA = great investment with ROI of 60:1
  • VITA provides access to Earned Income Tax Credit #EITC and Child Tax Credit #CTC: $60M in tax credits returned annually
  • VITA is FREE - saves taxpayer cost of preparation (average of $300)
  • VITA links taxpayers to the other critical services
  • VITA promotes savings and financial literacy
  • There are an estimated 75,000 left unserved in MA.

Funding for VITA sites would help more low-income tax payers access the recently increased State EITC, stabilize the network and allow for continued operations leading to expanded services.

Every year some VITA sites cease operations due the limited operating funds.  Learn more about the running a VITA site.

Learn more about Community Action VITA sites.

Learn more about our full list of FY20 Public Policy Priorities.


After receiving assistance finding part-time employment upon arriving at the Safe Harbor Shelter, a single mother became a Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands (CACCI) VITA client.  The IRS-certified volunteer prepared her taxes and accessed #EITC and #CTC.  She received a substantial refund.  She is now able to buy a small car to get herself to work and the opportunity to look for additional work.  VITA creates opportunity!


We urge you to support the FY20 priorities so that together we can move forward on the road to opportunity.  Visit our Public Policy Priorities page for more information.


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