For the past 5 years, H&R Block has partnered with The Mustard Seed to provide free tax filing services to those experiencing poverty or homelessness.
“We started the Returning Hope Program 5 years ago, with one Mustard Seed in Calgary and in this short time we’ve been able to expand the program to 4 [Mustard Seed] locations across B.C. and Alberta,” says Christianne Balzun, H&R Block Retail Marketing Manager.
Those experiencing homelessness often run into barriers that prevent them from being able to file their taxes. These barriers, such as not having a mailing address, the required government identification, or access to a computer, stops them from being able to get a tax return. And without one, many people in need miss getting vital government benefits or are unable to claim Income Support or AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped).
Thankfully, over the past 5 years, the Returning Hope program has been able to help “…393 people access credits and benefits they otherwise wouldn’t be able to access without a tax return,” Christianne says.
This year alone, across our Calgary, Medicine Hat, and Kamloops locations, H&R Block was able to serve 120 community members and found over $120,000 worth of missed refunds and credits. Receiving this support makes a huge difference in the lives of those we serve. As one participant of the program said:
“Thanks to H&R Block I could do my taxes and received a refund. I will be able to pay my phone, my rent, and my groceries.”
We are deeply grateful for H&R Block’s commitment to helping those facing poverty and homelessness.