“Ariva’s services are essential for seniors. We are beyond grateful to work alongside the Ariva team to provide our community at PEP with free financial literacy and tax preparation.” – Nicole Tambini, Program Director at Parkchester Enhancement Program (PEP) for Seniors
At Ariva, we believe in financial equity for all, regardless of age or background. Through our intentional partnerships, we are able to offer our free financial help and free tax prep services to diverse communities throughout New York City. Today we’re shining the spotlight on our partnership with CenterLight Healthcare, a nonprofit organization that provides individualized care to enrich the quality of life for elders.
CenterLight’s Parkchester Enhancement Program (PEP) is designed to assist individuals aged 60 and older who live in the Parkchester area of The Bronx, by enhancing their health, well-being, and independence – and that includes their finances.
“Older adults are generally retired, so there’s no income aside from fixed payments like Social Security or a pension. When the cost of living increases, they can really be at risk because there’s no way for them to bridge that financial gap. So they fall back on their savings, but once that’s depleted, there’s nothing they can do,” says Nicole Tambini, Program Director at Centerlight, Parkchester Enhancement Program (PEP) for Seniors.
Nicole Tambini has always been passionate about both serving older adults and financial literacy. During her graduate studies in social services, she noticed that support for seniors was seriously lacking, and that there was a prominent need for financial literacy and related services for older adults. As a result, we began hosting free financial counseling for seniors at PEP year-round and free tax filing NYC several years ago.
“It started out as one day, and we probably served about 30-40 people. Now, we serve hundreds over the course of a couple of days. We are now working on getting Ariva to host at least once a week,” Nicole says.
As the demand for more free tax prep grows, so does our partnership. From 2020-2021, despite the challenges of the pandemic, Ariva and PEP teams worked together to continue offering free financial help and NYC tax prep to seniors. With COVID-19 still a health risk for our communities, the last thing older adults should worry about is where to get taxes done near me.
“Throughout COVID, it was so hard to provide those services in person, but Ariva made it happen. I did appointments one on one, transmitted the data to Ariva, and they got the taxes filed,” Nicole shares.
In addition to providing community tax prep through our partnership with PEP, we offer free financial counseling to help seniors build better personal finance habits and increase financial independence. Financial literacy for older adults is less about building credit or saving money for milestone purchases, and more about protecting themselves from binding decisions that could pose threats to their long-term financial health. Unfortunately, financial tech scams are the most common issue older adults currently face.
It’s clear that older adults need financial education and support now more than ever.
New York City is known as one of the most expensive cities to live in the world. According to NYC Health, seniors over 65 comprise 13% of the city’s population: that’s approximately 1.1 million people. About 22% of this population lives below the federal poverty line, and 20% are responsible for meeting the basic needs of younger generations in their family.
Elders increasingly rely on government assistance programs instead of retirement savings to fulfill these familial responsibilities, as well as their own basic or medical needs. The lack of economic security and personal finance know-how can take a significant toll on seniors’ well-being.
We strive to help all residents of New York City build financially-empowered and prosperous lives. Partnerships with community organizations like PEP at CenterLight Healthcare allow us to expand our resources so that more people can reap the benefits. Financial guidance is necessary for every age and stage of life, and our partnership is here to provide that.
“Unless older adults are really connected to the community, programs, or family, they get lost in the cracks, and they suffer needlessly because they’re doing things on their own or not doing things they should be doing,” adds Nicole.
If you’re 60+ years old and live in The Bronx, check out the Parkchester Enhancement Program (PEP) for Seniors by Centerlight – in addition to our financial counseling NYC and free tax filing NYC programs, they offer everything from art classes and group trips to community gardening and computer instruction.
Want to get ahead of the 2023 tax season and get your own free tax preparation assistance? Make an appointment today!