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Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Contact Information

If you, your business, or organization are interested in becoming a part of the Disability Initiative Workgroup, please contact Jan Stenlund, Director of Program Services, The Social Development Commission at [email protected]

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

Disability Initiative Workgroup

The MABC is a major asset development engine that has returned $84 million to low income Milwaukee families in eight years. The mission of the Social Development Commission (SDC) is Empowering Milwaukee County residents with the resources to move beyond poverty. SDC has been the Community Action Agency for Milwaukee County since 1964 and is the lead agency for the Milwaukee Asset Building Coalition (MABC). MABC is a private/public partnership that through education, planning and income, supports Milwaukee residents to achieve financial independence. MABC functions as an asset building/revenue generating development program for the Milwaukee community of low-income working residents. It is most celebrated for preparing tax returns and homestead credit forms (free) for income-eligible families, providing financial education, and encouraging banking and other asset development practices. MABC average number of returns prepared over eight years are approximately 10,000 per year. Milwaukee low-income working families receive tax returns as form of discretionary income that empowers families to move beyond poverty and become economically self-sufficient. The MABC partnership is currently comprised of members from SDC, eight financial institutions, the federal revenue agency,the state revenue agency,two organizations specifically serving people with disabilities, three higher education institutions,two private foundations,numerous community based organizations,the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority,the City of Milwaukee Health Department, the Badger Care consortium of health care providers (which assures the coordination of such services as Badger Care Plus, WIC, Healthy Start, Medical Assistance, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [formerly Food Stamps] to Milwaukee County residents) and various credit counseling agencies.* The earliest efforts of MABC to target services to people with disabilities largely focused on making general announcements of which MABC service sites were considered accessible. For the past three years we have had partner organizations serving on the governing body of MABC that serve primarily people with disabilities (and offering their own sites).

Plans for 2010

For the 2009-2010 filing season MABC has already initiated a new series of outreach efforts to people with disabilities. These following outreach efforts are now scheduled:

(a) During seven training sessions for MABCs VITA & EITC staff and volunteers, and during Site Coordinators training, IndependenceFirst will provide advice and instruction for developing increased awareness and cultural competence in providing services to people with disabilities who might (or some who actually might not) have special needs. The instruction includes discussion of ways of developing sensitivity to the needs of both people with disabilities which are visible and people with disabilities which are non-visible.

(b) Every Tuesday throughout the tax season, an outreach MABC Mobile Team will provide services at Milwaukees Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin representing pioneering outreach to trusted local sites where many people with disabilities already use a wide range of services.

(c) As a continuing effort for the 2009 2010 filing season, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin will assist in distributing MABC services flyers both directly to their clients who may be interested, and to clients & shoppers at two of their three branch Goodwill stores in Milwaukee County. IndependenceFirst will distribute flyers as well.

(d) Continued collaboration between MABC and two very significant providers of services to people with disabilities (i.e., Goodwill and IndependenceFirst) is expected to be mutually satisfactory as a multi-agency collaboration and as a platform for launching expanded services in the future.