Despite being one of the wealthiest areas in the country, there is a large, often hidden, low-wage population living throughout our communities. In 2016, we conducted a study of the economic hardship across New Jersey. What we found was startling - a population of over 895,000 households across New Jersey, including our region, which represents a geographic area of five counties that includes urban, suburban and rural areas where close to 30% of households struggle to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care and transportation.
In collaboration with the Internal Revenue Service, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Consumer Federation of America, Prosperity Now, local and state workforce systems, financial institutions, public and nonprofit sector partners, local and national financial stability providers and funders, the AmeriCorps VISTA Financial Stability Specialist will help us create and promote accessible pathways for financial independence. VISTA will seek to help people become financially stable by helping them utilize appropriate income supports, building their savngs and assets, gaining family sustaining employment and managing expenses.
VISTA will do this by increasing the capacity of our financial stability programs through partnerships, resource development, volunteer engagement, and program expansion. Utilizing our tax preparation program as the gateway, we increase financial literacy, encourage savings and asset development, and link individuals and families to employment and other services.
The VISTA will be part of a collegial team and will receive support when needed. The team allows much latitude for creativity and independent work. We strive for an open, collaborative work environment with openess to new ideas. We utilize many volunteers whose expertise and leadership are greatly valued.
Following an orentation to our work and the community, the VISTA Financial Stability Specialist will support strengthening the delivery of tax preparation, financial education, job training and other skil development services and evaluate the effectiveness of those programs; enhance and implement strategies that leverage volunteers for those programs; plan and execute volunteer events that create a greater awareness in the community about the struggles of people living in poverty; support efforts to strengthen all aspects of United Way of Northern New Jersey's fundraising work (grant research, writing and other fundraising).