KYCC’s Community Economic Development participated in two panels at the Asset Building Symposium on Feb. 21 at the Radisson Midtown Hotel at the University of Southern California. KYCC Economic Development Specialist Doris Valenzuela and Senior Financial Case Manager Audrey Casillas delivered presentations on financial well-being and free tax service providers.

The annual conference is attended by funders, nonprofits, public agencies and policymakers and facilitates conversation around economic equity in local communities. The event was made possible through the City and County of Los Angeles in an effort to provide free tax preparation information to Los Angeles citizens.

Since its inception in 2010, KYCC’s Matched Savings program has provided financial education and services to help clients become informed and engaged. The initiative has helped open over 1,200 bank accounts for clients in Koreatown neighborhoods.

“While clients are enrolled in our Matched Savings program, we do regular check-in calls and meetings, they are invited to financial education workshops, and other services at our center, like tax preparation,” Valenzuela said. “The savings program also works as a tool to engage clients and build a stronger relationship within and beyond the savings period.”

Since its inception in 2006, KYCC’s VITA program has been one of the leaders in providing free tax preparation services for the Los Angeles community.

We offer free tax help to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. This year’s clinic opened on Jan. 23.

“It’s estimated that 20% of L.A. County residents are not claiming the Federal and State Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) who qualify. That’s $566 million dollars not coming back to families and our communities,” reported Casillas. “We make sure our families get their fair refund.”

Through our 2015 VITA tax clinics, 220 volunteers contributed 8,302 hours and assisted nearly 10,000 clients in bringing back $12.4 million in refunds to the community.

KYCC is a community partner with CalEITC4Me, a public-private partnership that spreads awareness of California’s Earned Income Tax Credit to advance economic opportunity and financial security for hundreds of thousands of individuals and families.