Ending Poverty Now

EPN logoEnding Poverty Now launched in 2015 as a part of Pima County’s Economic Development Plan

EPN works with internal and external partners to pilot innovative ways to assist people in the transition out of poverty, strengthen our workforce, and increase capacity of agencies and individuals to better understand and address poverty. EPN also works on ways to leverage County resources among departments and help County employees build assets.

EPN’s goals are to:
  • Strengthen County/business partnerships to promote retention and advancement of workers;
  • Engage and empower under-resourced people; and
  • Coordinate and combine resources to maximize their impact
Click on the tabs below to learn more about the initiatives coordinated by the Ending Poverty Now program.

The MAMA (Mothers in Arizona Moving Ahead) project is a collaboration between Community Services, Employment and Training and the Pima County Health Department to address the health and financial concerns of mothers in poverty. 
MAMA program showcase
MAMA engages nonprofit partners along with the wider community to support moms. It also has an evaluation component that creates critical feedback on ways to improve healthcare systems for low-income mothers. The goal is expand the program to new partners in Pima County and to create a model other counties can adopt and adapt.

“This is what makes this program so different: No one ever told me what I was supposed to do. I got to reach into my own dreams and set my own goals,” said Elizabeth Berryhill,
now a MAMA facilitator and running her own successful baking

You can make a difference!

Join our Circles of Care in which area volunteers or allies -- in partnership with nonprofits and the faith-based community -- meet monthly to increase young mothers’ ability to carry out their own self-designed plan for building health, financial and other resources. 

Become an ally by emailing Bonnie Bazata, Pima County’s Ending Poverty Now program manager, or calling 520-724-3704.
Added another participant: "Thank you for creating the MAMA program. It was  a huge eye-opener for me and helped in letting me know I can accomplish  goals I set." 
business.  “So often, there is another adult telling you want they think you need to do, but MAMA gave you the freedom to create your own future. And when you do that, you have so much more determination and energy to achieve it.”

MAMA started with innovation grants from the Vitalyst Health Foundation and the Public Health National Center for Innovations with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Read more about MAMA in this case study from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

To create sustaining support for mothers in this project, Circles of Care supported by area volunteers or allies are being used in partnership with nonprofits and the faith-based community. Meeting monthly, these Circles increase young mothers’ resiliency and capacity to carry out their own self-designed plan for building health, financial and other resources. 

Become an ally! Community members who wish to become allies can email Bonnie Bazata, Pima County’s Ending Poverty Now program manager, or call 520-724-3704.
Recent studies show that 43% of Americans don’t have $400 in savings for an emergency. That means a lot of us are struggling to pay bills and even a small emergency – a car breakdown or a medical need – could put us in a difficult financial situation. 
piggy bank
If employees have poor credit, or no credit, then often their only option is a Title Loan company or internet payday lender – both can have high interest rates, hidden fees, and can become debt traps, or worse, lose your vehicle. 

Pima County launched the Employee Loan program to help employees facing an unexpected crisis or other need for a loan by offering access to fair credit quickly.  The only criteria is you must have worked full time for Pima county for one year. That’s it! 

Your credit score doesn’t matter – if you are an employee you can get the loan – and the interest rates are reasonable, set between 6 and 22%.  Payment comes directly out of your paycheck, so you can’t default. It’s a simple and fast online process – and is confidential.  

Our partner is Kashable loans. Learn more through Pima County's Wellness website

And if you are interested in learning more about employee loans for your company or organization, email Bonnie Bazata, the Ending Poverty Now program manager for Pima County, or call her at 520-724-3704.
When families pay as much as 70 percent of their income on housing, it’s not surprising when a missed rent payment and, eventually, eviction result. Indeed, in 2018 in Pima County, more than 13,000 evictions were filed in court. Many more never even make it through the legal process. The rising cost of housing and the shrinking number of affordable housing units is making the problem worse.

Evictions posterPima County’s Ending Poverty Now Program has teamed up with a number of partners to create educational materials to help tenants navigate or prevent an eviction or to pair them with helpful resources. Those partners include:

Resources:

Resources Guide
Hello Landlord, a website that helps tenants write letters to landlords to address issues and stave off a possible eviction
Hello Landlord flier
Understanding the Eviction Process 
Your Responsibilities as a Tenant
Habitability Flow Chart
Southern Arizona Legal Aid Renters Guide
8 Steps to Help You After an Eviction 
Rent, Mortgage and Utility Assistance
Discounted sewer fees (Sewer Outreach Subsidy Program)
“Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ by World” is a class for people experiencing poverty. It provides them an opportunity to examine the impact poverty has both on them and their communities. 

The aim is to provide a safe learning environment where adults could reflect on and examine their lives, investigate new information that is relevant to them, assess their own resources, make plans for their own future stories, offer ideas for building a prosperous community, and choose a team to help them fulfill their dreams. 

Sue Harris, an Interfaith Community Services participant said: “There have been a number of insights and ideas I’ve encountered in this class that were new to me or that reframed something I believed I knew and presented it in a way that is more empowering.”

Other Getting Ahead participants describe the program this way: 
  • "I learned about available resources out there, how to find them, and how to use them to my advantage."
  • "I learned how to set attainable goals, time management, and money management."

Getting Ahead at Las Artes

Eight organizations in Pima County are currently offering the Getting Ahead curriculum, including the County’s Las Artes Arts & Education Center
Jose Gutierrez

Las Artes integrated the curriculum in 2016 as a critical piece to increase the number of students receiving their GED, and then moving students beyond the GED to a career pathway. Retention has increased from 23 percent to 69 percent for students completing Getting Ahead, meaning that students have either received their GED or are still retained in the Las Artes program. 

The class is now facilitated by Las Artes graduates. Class evaluations showed positive impact for the students and 100 percent agreed that the class should be continued at Las Artes. The program was recognized by the City of Tucson and United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona with one of the top ten “What Works for Youth” awards.

“I got insight on how to navigate the middle class. As someone who grew up in poverty and had some trouble with the law, I realized I didn’t know how to do that very well. Getting Ahead helped me know how to talk to people and to institutions.”

– Jose Gutierrez, Las Artes and Pima Community College graduate
EPN staff lead a number of workshops that offer a deeper understanding of poverty and its impact on the community.

Below are two on-going trainings.  However, trainings can be tailored for your organizations’ needs.  Interested? Email Bonnie Bazata, the Ending Poverty Now program manager for Pima County, or call her at 520-724-3704.  

Understanding Poverty:  Why Poverty Matters to Our Community

Cost: $50 includes training, snacks, lunch, and materials

If you or your organization works with people from poverty, a deeper understanding of their challenges and strengths will help you partner with them to create opportunities for success. This workshop provides new insights to help you understand the experience of being chronically under-resourced so that you can build greater effectiveness in your work.

Understanding Poverty means understanding the impact of chronic instability, scarcity, and stress, as well as how environments and systems impact the larger picture.  Participants will examine economic class and its impact our lives and institutions, review tools for systemic change and learn about the Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World workshop.  Ideas and tools are drawn from the Bridges Out of Poverty framework, new research on scarcity, behavioral science, and other resources.

Upcoming Trainings

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Pima County One-Stop, 2797 E. Ajo Way

Friday, Aug. 30
Friday, Oct. 11

Register now.

Bonnie Bazata

Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World Facilitator Training

Cost: $85 includes training, snacks, lunch, materials, and workbooks 

The purpose of Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World is to provide people experiencing poverty and a chronic lack of resources with new strategies and thinking to build resources for greater stability, choices, and community participation. Become a certified Getting Ahead facilitator and help under-resourced individuals to:
  • Stabilize and take charge of their lives
  • Complete a self-assessment of their own resources and make plans to build them
  • Develop a series of mental models to examine their own lives and create new future stories
  • Investigate the impact that poverty has had on themselves and their community
  • Use this information to build resources for a better life and community
Facilitator training includes the following topics: philosophy, theory, motivation and incentives, long-term support, mental models, content, process, and practice sessions. Additionally, you will receive:
  • Overview of Getting Ahead
  • Preparation to facilitate Getting Ahead groups
  • Getting ahead Workbook and accompanying Facilitator's Guide (the set)
  • On-going support/community
Getting Ahead is being offered in urban and rural areas in 50 states and in varied settings, including drug courts, housing projects, workforce development, healthcare employers, mental health associations, prisons, neighborhoods, schools, colleges, and community and faith-based initiatives.

Workshops are led by Bonnie Bazata, the Ending Poverty Now program manager for Pima County. Previously, Bonnie was the first Executive Director of the St. Joseph County Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative in South Bend, Indiana, where more than 850 people graduated the Getting Ahead program. She has provided trainings around the country and helped design both the national evaluation instrument and a qualitative study of Getting Ahead. 

Note:  To attend the Getting Ahead Facilitator training, you need to first attend the day-long workshop on Understanding Poverty provided by a certified Bridges Out of Poverty trainer is a pre-requisite.

Complete an interest form for this Facilitator Training Workshop

Upcoming Trainings

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Pima County One-Stop, 2797 E. Ajo Way

Friday, Sept.13
Friday, Oct. 25

Register now.

Each spring, Pima County teams up with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona to offer free tax-preparation assistance for those with family incomes below $66,000.

The Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program enables taxpayers to bring in their documents, which Taxpayer getting taxes doneare reviewed, scanned, and uploaded to a secure server. It usually takes about 20 minutes.  Seven to 10 days later (sometimes faster), the return is securely emailed or can be picked up at a VITA site.

In 2019, Pima County served 200 taxpayers at eight sites. All found the program helpful, plan to use VITA next year, and said they would recommend the program to friends and family.  About 63% of taxpayers had used tax services in the past, saving them on average $250.   

Over the last four years, Pima County has served over 450 taxpayers, which resulted in $485,000 in tax returns and almost $200,000 in Earned Income Tax Credit refunds, helping low-income families. 
Consider using us for your tax preparation next year.  

Taxpayers must bring: 
  • Picture I.D. for taxpayer and spouse. Both spouses must be present to sign documents! 
  • Social Security card for EACH family member
Proof of income, including W2s and 1099s
Picture I.D. for taxpayer and spouse. Both spouses must be present to sign documents! Social Security card for EACH family member
Account and routing numbers for direct deposit of refunds 
  • Documentation for deductible expenses such as home mortgage interest or real estate taxes. 
  • Forms 5498-SA and 1099-SA for Health Savings Accounts and 1095A for Affordable Care Act. 
  • Taxpayers without the required documents cannot be assisted.
Check eligibility at United Way's tax site. Questions? Email Bonnie Bazata or call her at 520-724-3704.

Check back here for the 2020 schedule. 

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Community Services, Employment and Training

Kino Service Center
Serves Dislocated Workers (persons who have been laid off)

2797 E. Ajo Way
Tucson, AZ 85713

Phone: (520) 724-7700
Fax: (520) 724-2799
TTY: (520) 724-6778

Rio Nuevo Service Center
Serves Unemployed Adults
Tortolita Building
340 N. Commerce Park Loop
Tucson, AZ 85745

Phone: (520) 724-7650
Fax: (520) 724-1266
TTY:

Youth Employment
Center
Serves Youth/Young Adults
Sentinel Building, 2nd Floor
320 N. Commerce Park Loop
Tucson, AZ 85745

Phone: (520) 724-9649
Fax: (520) 622-1633


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