REI Logo
Text Size: small text medium text large text
Bookmark and Share
banner image

Buffalo, New York

Contact Information

If you, your business, or organization are interested in becoming a part of the Disability Initiative Workgroup, please contact  Katie Lyons of United Way of Buffalo & Erie County/Creating Assets, Savings & Hope (CASH) at [email protected].

If you are already a member of the Disability Initiative Workgroup and have questions regarding the IRS participation, then please contact Donna Mallon at [email protected].

Disability Initiative Workgroup

Creating Assets, Savings & Hope (CASH) Buffalo is a coalition over sixty member organizations – including foundations, banks, non-profits, faith and community groups, educational institutions, employers, and concerned citizens -working together to increase the financial stability of low-to-moderate income individuals and families living in Buffalo and Erie County, New York. The Coalition focuses on a variety of proactive, community-based strategies including, but not limited to, access to working family credits (including Earned Income, Education, and Child Tax Credits), improving the coordination and consistency of local financial education programming, and supporting homeownership through Individual Development Account (IDA) matched savings accounts.

CASH Buffalo is very proud of its successes over the last several years. Since 2005, CASH has completed more than 38,000 state and federal tax returns and secured more than $40 million in credits and refunds. The Coalition has also recently completed an environmental scan of financial education programs available in the local community and developed a series of financial education DVDs to share with adults receiving assistance at our tax sites. Finally, CASH has successfully launched its first IDA program (2004) and has secured additional federal support for a second program.

Last year, CASH Buffalo decided to reach out to various special populations in order to ensure that they received their Economic Stimulus payment. Using our mobile financial assistance unit, known as the Income TAXi, CASH worked to ensure that seniors, persons with disabilities, and low-wage workers secured the federal Economic Stimulus payment through special events held at City Hall, the City of Buffalo Department of Senior Services, Hispanics United of Buffalo, YWCA of WNY, Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Massachusetts Avenue Project, Gateway-Longview, and several local nursing homes and senior centers. Over a six week period, CASH completed more than 750 returns through these special engagements. 

An analysis of free tax preparation client data reveals than 7% of program participants have a disability. That number is more than doubled when clients are asked about family members living in their household.

Beyond this, nearly 65% of persons securing assistance from the Income TAXi during TY 2007 indicated that they would like to receive assistance with developing budgets, developing banking relationships, and dealing with credit.

CASH Buffalo will use resources available through its Income TAXi program to host a series of special events (up to 10) at various locations throughout Buffalo and Erie County. These events will be specifically designed to address the needs of persons with physical and developmental disabilities and will be held at local non-profit and community-organizations (including group homes and nursing home facilities). CASH Buffalo staff and trained volunteers will provide free tax preparation for clients and engage in screening for up to 19 income supports (including Food Stamps, HEAP, etc.). Additional information about other community resources will also be available through the Income TAXi resource library. The Income TAXi has six computer workstations which can be used on the unit itself or moved into the organization based on client need.

CASH Buffalo includes over sixty member organizations including a sizable subset of agencies that specifically serve persons with disabilities (e.g., People, Inc., Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Erie County Department of Senior Services, Weinberg Campus, Horizon Health Services). Additional outreach will be conducted to ensure that the widest range of people can be reached for this effort.

Each year, CASH Buffalo develops flyers and other printed materials about its Free Tax Preparation Network and distributes more than 80,000 pieces to schools, companies, block clubs, community and faith groups, non-profits, and governmental organizations.

Finally, each free tax preparation client fills in an intake form prior to having their taxes completed.

CASH Buffalo does extensive media outreach for all of its special events and has received excellent coverage over the past several years (including 9 articles and 12 radio/television interviews last year). CASH Buffalo will contact local reporters who regularly cover events and provide them with information about the Real Economic Impact Tour. In addition, CASH Buffalo will seek sponsors for the event. Past sponsors/partners include the City of Buffalo, Office of Mayor Byron Brown, Office of Community Services, Internal Revenue Service, Erie County Department of Senior Services, Erie County Department of Health, HSBC, M&T Bank and Key Bank.