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FEPS goes beyond the numbers

27 November 2019
Author: Katherine Roy
Douglas recently became the primary caregiver for his two boys, aged 11 and 14-years-old. Very quickly, Douglas knew that caring for two busy kids would mean looking at his finances in a different way. He wanted support with his taxes, and he had questions about saving for his sons. With all of this on his mind, Douglas googled ‘tax help’ and when he saw West Neighbourhood House pop-up in his search, he was quick to reach out.
 
Douglas soon discovered that West Neighbourhood House’s Financial Empowerment and Problem-Solving (FEPS) program was about a lot more than just taxes. “They knew what I need[ed] and what I should be getting,” says Douglas. It was by working with FEPS staff that Douglas realized he qualified for the full Canada Child Benefit.
 
Whether its supporting seniors to make sense of changes to the tax code or helping parents plan for their children’s future, FEPS provides financial information and helps people to make informed decisions.  At a community level, FEPS offers free workshops and advocates for changes to financial policies that adversely affect low-income people. Ultimately, FEPS empowers people to take control of their financial lives.
 
Through FEPS, Douglas was not only able to file his taxes, but he also prepared the financial documents he needed to start looking for a bigger apartment and he was able to get RESPs started for his children’s education.
 
Douglas trusted FEPS to help him get more from his personal resources and identify where he might be missing financial opportunities. “[Working with FEPS] took a big weight off of my shoulders,” says Douglas. 
 
“People have an impression that tax services are just ‘in and out’ but we take the time to talk about all of the benefits [and options] available,” says Tamara who has been Douglas’ FEPS contact since the beginning. “It’s about being able to look beyond the numbers and see the human story there,” she says.
Like all of West Neighbourhood House’s programming, FEPS aims to understand the unique strengths and stories of its clients and, in the end, this is what creates a lasting impact in their lives.

West Neighbourhood House

West Neighbourhood House enables less advantaged individuals, families and groups in the community to gain greater control over their lives and within their community.

FEPS

Prosper Canada is working in partnership with West Neighbourhood House, Jane/Finch Centre, Agincourt Community Services Association, and The Working Centre to strengthen the Financial Empowerment and Problem Solving (FEPS) Program over four years. Building on the expansion and replication of the program over 2015-2017, the FEPS program helps Ontarians living on low incomes to improve their financial situation by accessing government income transfers and building their capacity for financial security.


 

THE AUTHOR

Katherine Roy is a Freelance Writer for West Neighborhood House.

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