News

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.

$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.

Delayed Tax Refunds for EITC and ACTC Filers

If you’re expecting a tax refund based on filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) on your income tax return, you might not get it as soon as you expect this year. Due to a new law, the IRS will be waiting until February 15 before they’ll begin making direct deposits or mailing tax refunds. In practical terms, even for those who file in late January, the earliest most will get their refunds will be the week of February 27.

Many people depend on their refunds to pay for major expenses or debt they’ve incurred over the holidays. Starting this year, it’s important to plan for the delay in getting your refund and expecting to pay for those expenses out of existing resources. Tips for coping with the delay can be found HERE.

SEVCA’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program recommends that you save or invest your return, and not depend on it for holiday expenses. Each year, we urge tax filers to participate in the “SaveYourRefund” program, which offers a chance to win prizes for those who save at least a portion of their refund. Please contact Susan Brace at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information about SEVCA’s VITA program, which offers free tax preparation assistance to eligible families and individuals. We will start scheduling appointments in mid-January.

Two Grants Awarded to Emergency Home Repair Program

Renewals of two major grants for SEVCA’s Emergency Home Repair Program (EHRP)—the USDA’s Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) and a grant from The Thomas Thompson Trust—will help ensure the program’s viability and provide assistance to an estimated 30-40 homes over the coming year. SEVCA was awarded $26,000 from HPG and $10,000 from the Thompson Trust.

EHRP provides and facilitates emergency home repairs for low-income residents of Windham and Windsor Counties, to enable them to address unsafe, unhealthy, and substandard conditions in their homes. EHRP primarily focuses on small-scale emergency repairs of up to $2,000 for households who don’t qualify for or can’t afford to participate in housing rehab loan programs, have an urgent need not met by other programs, or need additional funds beyond what they are able to borrow. By providing the needed repairs quickly and cost-effectively, EHRP enables recipients to stay in their homes, ensures the safety and health of their families, and allows them to focus their scarce resources on other basic needs.

EHRP was designed to respond to a critical need that SEVCA identified through its experience in working with area residents. SEVCA’s Family Services staff commonly encounter low-income homeowners struggling to pay monthly expenses—mortgage, heat and electricity, food, healthcare, etc.—leaving them with nothing to invest in keeping their homes habitable. And SEVCA’s Weatherization staff see firsthand the substandard housing conditions many residents live in; yet too often, they are unable to provide Weatherization assistance, which would stem energy waste and reduce energy costs, due to the unacceptable condition of the ‘building envelope.’  SEVCA’s 2015 Community Assessment survey reinforced the need for the program, with 80% of the homeowners surveyed saying that they had major repair needs in their homes that they were unable to address.

“Unless the investment in children is made, all of humanity’s most fundamental long-term problems will remain fundamental long-term problems.”

UNICEF "The State of the Children" (1995)