News

Pilot Project Will Help 3SquaresVT Recipients Find New & Better Paying Jobs

SEVCA Assisting With Outreach

In 2015, Vermont was one of ten states chosen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop and test strategies for reducing dependency on the national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Vermont’s SNAP Program, called 3SquaresVT and administered by the Department for Children and Families (DCF), was awarded a three‐year $8.9 million dollar grant to develop a job readiness and training pilot program for people getting benefits.

Vermont’s pilot, called Jobs for Independence (JFI), began accepting applications at the end of February 2016.

“The Jobs for Independence pilot will give participants the opportunity to develop skills, overcome barriers to work, and find and keep good jobs,ʺ said DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz. “Most importantly, it will help them to rely less on government assistance and more on their own capacities for building strong futures for themselves.ʺ

Jobs for Independence (JFI) can help people even if they: don’t have stable housing; have a mental health issue; are struggling with substance abuse or recovery; or have a criminal record. Vermonters who get 3SquaresVT benefits may be eligible to participate. Those selected for the program could get help to:

  • Resolve issues that may be keeping them from work (e.g., criminal record, mental health, substance abuse, or unstable housing)
  • Find new or better jobs
  • Gain work skills and knowledge
  • Pay for things they need to work like car repairs and work clothes
  • Earn the Governor’s Career Ready Certificate at the Community College of Vermont (CCV)
  • Achieve industry‐recognized certification (e.g., CDL or IT Software)

3SquaresVT participants who are interested in JFI should call SEVCA to see if they qualify. In Windham County, contact Elizabeth McEwen at 802 376-0362 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In Winsor County, contact Elizabeth Meuse 802 376-0361 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Vote April 4-7 to Elect a Client Representative to SEVCA's Board

Brattleboro Resident, Tony Taylor, is Standing for Election

SEVCA will be holding a public election during the week of April 3rd to elect a ‘Client Representative’ to its Board from the Brattleboro area. SEVCA needs representatives of low-income residents in its service area to ensure that there are Board members who can speak on their behalf about what people need to cope with financial hardship and become self-reliant. It’s a unique opportunity for local residents to help effectively direct SEVCA’s resources and services to achieve its mission to alleviate suffering and lift people out of poverty.

Tony Taylor has declared that he will be running for election to that position. Tony is a resident of Brattleboro and has lived there for 15 years with his wife and three children. He attended school in Rutland and graduated from Rutland High School in 1997. Tony has served on the Board of Directors of the Turning Point Recovery Center, which provides treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, and has also been on the receiving end of needed services. He is a former client of our Micro-Business and Matched Savings programs, which helped him start a successful cleaning business – Master Floor Technicians. Tony is interested in serving on the SEVCA Board to give back for the help he has received.

SEVCA will continue accepting nominations for other Brattleboro area candidates until March 29th, and there will also be a space for a write-in candidate on the ballot. Ballots will contain a brief biography of Tony and any other announced candidates. Voting will take place at the following locations on the dates and hours listed below:

   SEVCA Outreach Office, 15 Grove St., Brattleboro

                April 4, 5, and 6 from 8:30 AM. to 4 PM.; April 7 from 1-4:30 PM

   Windham-Windsor Housing Trust, 68 Birge St., Brattleboro

                April 4, 5, 6, and 7 from 8:30 AM-4 PM

   State Office Building, Economic Services, 232 Main St., 2nd Floor, Brattleboro

                April 6 from 9 AM-12 PM

   Westgate Apts. Community Room, 50 Westgate Drive, Brattleboro

                April 4 from 1-2 PM; April 5 from 2-4 PM; April 6 from 11 AM-1 PM

Clients of SEVCA or any of the above organizations, and other low-income area residents, are invited and encouraged to vote in this election to help ensure representation of the low-income population in the Brattleboro area on the SEVCA Board.  Individuals do not have to be registered voters to vote in this election.  Voting can also be done by mail.  To request a ballot or for more information, please call 800-464-9951, Ext. 105.

Spring Forward with Financial Fitness!

Session Starting Soon! Free “Financial Fitness” Classes in Brattleboro

BRATTLEBORO -- Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) is inviting participants to register for its upcoming workshop series, “Your Money, Your Goals,” to be held in Brattleboro starting April 4. This 7-part workshop series will help participants improve their relationship with money, develop strong financial habits, and take steps toward prosperity. Topics covered include: saving, spending, credit, home buying, insurance, purchasing a car, and saving for college. The instructor will review participants’ credit reports and offer recommendations to build healthy credit or resolve credit issues, as well as provide individualized financial coaching to help participants and their families become more financially secure.

The workshop series is free and open to the public. Those who complete the course may be eligible to join SEVCA’s Individual Development Account (IDA) matched savings program. IDA participants earn $2 for every $1 they save (up to $1,000) if they save a minimum of $25 each month toward purchasing a home, obtaining education or job training, or starting or enhancing their own business.

The course will be held at Marlboro College, 28 Vernon St., Brattleboro from 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesdays, April 4 through May 23 (excludes April 18). Pre-registration is required. Please call to register at 802-722-4575, ext. 151, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SEVCA has served as the federally-designated anti-poverty agency in Windsor and Windham Counties for more than 50 years. In the past year, SEVCA served over 9,000 people in Windham and Windsor counties through a range of programs such as crisis fuel assistance, homelessness prevention, weatherization, home repair, business start-up and support, job readiness and skills training, financial fitness, asset building, Head Start, food stamp outreach, access to affordable health care, budgeting/savings, information and referral, and thrift stores.

VITA is Vital! Here's Your Chance to Get Free Tax Prep

File Your Taxes for FREE through SEVCA’s VITA Program

The IRS has estimated that 4 million U.S. residents each year fail to claim tax credits they qualify for, forfeiting nearly $3 billion in tax credits and refunds. Tax benefits like the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) help eligible working families afford better housing, dependable transportation,and quality child care, and pursue further education and training, thus contributing to their long-term financial stability. In addition, they benefit the local economy.

Help SEVCA spread the word about the free tax preparation services we will provide to qualified low- and moderate-income households through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program between February 2 and April 13. Call SEVCA if you or someone you know:

  •  Is unsure of the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act and needs a little extra help to make sure their return is accurate this year
  • Wants to make sure to claim all tax credits they are eligible for, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit
  • Wants to save the $100-$300 they would usually pay a tax preparer to file their taxes

In 2016, SEVCA’s VITA program assisted over 300 tax filers, who received federal and state refunds amounting to over $400,000, including Earned Income Credits worth more than $200,000. This year, we have 26 experienced volunteer tax preparers, who have undergone extensive training in current tax regulations, including those related to the Affordable Care Act. Each return will be reviewed for accuracy by a certified volunteer. Free tax assistance is available by appointment only at the following locations 

  • SEVCA’s main office in Westminster on Tuesdays (daytime appointments)
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in White River Junction on Thursdays (day and early evening appointments available)
  • Windsor Resource Connection Center (Windsor) on alternate Wednesdays, starting Feb. 8

SEVCA is proud to partner again this year with Granite United Way to offer the VITA program to residents in the Upper Valley (White River Junction and Windsor). You can schedule your own appointment at these sites by using the online registration process HERE: just click on "Schedule an appointment now!" and choose White River Junction or Windsor sites on the list that appears. You can also make an appointment by phone at these locations by calling 866-444-4211. Appointments can be scheduled at the Westminster location by phone only; please call 800-464-9951, beginning immediately.

$15,000 VT Building Communities Grant Awarded to SEVCA’s Head Start Program

BuildingCommunitiesGrant2016

Pictured (from l. to r.): Diane Nealy, Agency of Human Services; Governor Peter Shumlin; Steve Geller; and Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell.

A $15,000 Vermont Building Communities Grant awarded to SEVCA by the Department of Buildings and General Services will help pave the way to a new, renovated facility for the organization’s Head Start center in Windsor.  Steve Geller, SEVCA’s Executive Director, accepted the award at a ceremony at the Statehouse on December 13.

SEVCA’s Head Start program provides comprehensive early childhood education and family support at no cost to low-income children and their families in Windsor County, typically serving around 100 families annually. The program has been without a facility in Windsor since the lease for its center-based program at the Old Windsor Firehouse was not renewed in 2015. The organization has been able to continue serving Windsor families since then via a combination of placing some children in its White River Junction center and providing a ‘home-based’ program to some others, but children would benefit more fully from a center-based experience in their own community. The center-based Head Start program consists of a minimum of 16 hours a week of classroom time, which next year will expand to 30.

SEVCA has identified a building on the corner of Main and Bridge Streets to serve as its new Head Start center, and is in the process of purchasing the property from its current owner, the American Precision Museum. The renovation will consist of a complete rehab, including exterior and interior repairs and renovations, minor foundation repair, roofing, interior walls, new windows and doors, bathrooms and kitchen, new plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, and weatherization. SEVCA is currently assembling funds for the purchase and expects the sale to be finalized within the month and the new center to be opened in time for the next school year in September. View an article in the Valley News with more detail about SEVCA's plans HERE.

When this article was published, the status of a $300,000 grant from the Office of Head Start was not known, but since then, we've learned the grant was approved, and all financing is now in place to purchase and rennovate the new site.

“If SEVCA hadn’t provided heat this winter, I might not be alive to write this.”

SEVCA Client