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Municipal funding to assist residents to gain tax returns and benefits

Financial support from the municipality will assist the Prince Edward Learning Centre to help residents file taxes and get footing with other financial services that may make their lives more livable.

Council Tuesday night agreed to forward a $62,100 grant from its Climate Emergency carry-over fund to PELC, which provides pre-employment training and supports job placements, was well as upgrading for transitions to college, better jobs, apprenticeships and life skills.

The funds from tax returns not only help put money back in residents’ pockets, but also back into the community working toward economic recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is more than simply assisting people with tax returns,” said councillor Bill Roberts. “I see this as being connected to affordable housing and I see this connected to our community’s COVID recovery.”

Todd Davis, Director of Community Services, Programs and Initiatives, agreed, noting tax returns and benefit programs returned to residents are circulated in the community and in turn, help keep local businesses alive.

“It also keeps people in houses and their accommodations affordable at a time when they may be challenged to receive qualified employment, or other benefits.”

PELC’s educational and employment programs also include food programs alongside its ‘financial empowerment’ program which includes tax clinics, one-on-one financial coaching and assistance with benefits screening.

Last year PELC filed income taxes for 334 residents, netting benefits $1,038,000, or an average of just over $3,000 per participant. The clinics also helped another 149 people apply for benefits from electricity and energy support programs, gaining another $91,400 toward utility bills for those in need.

PELC spent $62,100 to achieve the above results. It received $17,873 received from council in 2020 and $38,000 in grants for costs directly related to staffing. The remaining amount was gained through fundraising efforts. For the upcoming year Oct. 2021- Sept. 2022, PELC sought $62,100 from council, to fund the total cost and expansion of the program for a full year. Like last year, services will be offered from PELC’s Picton base and through mobile clinics, likely to be held through the Prince Edward County Public Library locations.

As the municipality ends waiving COVID-19 relief penalties and interest payments on municipal bills such as water and wastewater, as of April 30, staff will offer payment plans and refer individuals struggling to make payments to PELC and to Prince Edward Lennox and Addington Social Services.

Filed Under: Local News

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