INFORM & CONNECT: A Workshop for Front Line Information Assistance and Resource Referral Staff

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Thursday September 21, 2017 | 9 am – 4 pm | FREE Workshop |

A free, daylong interactive training designed to support those who help older adults access resource referral information.

This training is designed for help-desk, information hotline, and other front-line volunteers or staff specifically tasked to provide clients with information about programs and services available throughout the county. Specialists on the following topics will share their knowledge, expertise and resources through short panel presentations and audience Q&A.

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Financial Abuse
  • Attendant Care
  • Mental Health
  • Nutrition
  • Staying Connected

Attendees will make connections with professional colleagues, build professional expertise, and enhance their service to the community.

Who Should Attend

Front line volunteers and staff who support the resource referral needs of older adults. Up to three people may register per agency or organization for the workshop.

7 Free CEUs provided courtesy of NASW-CA are offered for this workshop.

To register, click here or call 415-492-9444.

For a copy of the event flyer, click here.

About Aging Action Initiative

The purpose of the Aging Action Initiative is to promote a county-wide age-friendly environment, especially for those in need, collectively created by a strong network of aging service providers through education, policy advocacy, and service coordination. The initiative is a collective effort of over 65 different agencies, grassroots organizations, commissions and neighborhood groups, funded by the County of Marin, and coordinated by MARINSPACE.

SPARKPOINT MARIN Introduces New Housing Advocate

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August 1, 2017 | This year, SparkPoint Marin received grant funding from Marin Community Foundation to specialize in services for individuals from 60 to 70 years to help with more of the life circumstances that are critical to financial health for this age group.

How do I prepare the tax returns that I need to file for my past due taxes?

I am on disability payments and having a hard time making ends meet. Are there other sources of assistance or income that I can qualify for?

I would like to take out a loan to replace my car, but I can’t qualify for the interest rates that I think I can afford. What can I do to get access to credit?

My home needs major repairs and I have no extra income after paying my rent and the bills for my living expenses. How can I afford to maintain my home?

th7ZHGJ2L2These are some of the many challenges that SparkPoint Marin sees among our older adult population. Older and retiring adults can be financially vulnerable despite having the assets that they have worked years to build and preserve. For many in our community, the combination of a high cost of living, disappearing defined benefit plans and a fixed income means new financial worries instead of a life of ease in retirement. Many seniors are making ends meet on social security income and credit sources as single member households.  Some have personal wealth that is tied up in property assets with limited cash income to meet their daily expenses. As many as 7,000 seniors in Marin (21%) are part of an “eligibility gap,” where their income is above $10,830 per year (Federal Poverty Line) and too high to qualify for public assistance. However, their income is below the annual $27,334 estimated as the minimum necessary to afford basic living expenses in this county.[1]

pig-2This year, SparkPoint Marin received grant funding from Marin Community Foundation to specialize in services for individuals from 60 to 70 years old whose financial planning goals can be more dependent on their fixed earning capacity and changing life circumstances.  To help with more of the life circumstances that are critical to financial health for this age group, Leslie Klor, a housing advocate with twenty years of experience, will be joining our in-house expertise beginning in August 2017.  Leslie brings a wealth of knowledge to share on subsidized housing programs, housing vouchers, creative housing alternatives and what it takes to be a good tenant. Her role at SparkPoint Marin will be to help people living with limited means to explore local housing options.

For anyone interested in becoming a SparkPoint member, membership begins with a one hour orientation to our services and an in-depth assessment of personal finances.  Our coaches assist members with spending plans for living on a fixed income. They provide avenues for reducing monthly costs, increasing savings and improving personal credit scores to manage debt.  They assist members who want to earn new income with their job search. They are trained on tax matters and prepare tax returns. They help with applications for public assistance, and, as of August, affordable housing options, to help individuals reduce expenses and stretch their income further.

thU5TQWCV9As one real life example of how coaching can help with a loss of income and other compounding  issues, one member came to SparkPoint to find a way out of the debt that had mounted after she lost her job of fourteen years. She was a single mother supporting a family and had been through a surgery that prevented her from going back to the same job.  At SparkPoint, she received support to polish her skills for a new administrative position and landed a job as a receptionist. She devised a spending and savings plan to manage her new income for paying down her debt. In the course of taking these steps, she also succeeded in raising her credit score to secure greater financial freedom for herself and her family. These are some of the real benefits that are possible with client-centered coaching.

tree-2367374__340Financial health and living well in retirement go hand in hand and they require a sustained effort.  SparkPoint Marin recognizes that the cost of living can be a significant barrier to living the dream of a carefree retirement.  We are here to give people financial options to empower them to improve their life circumstances and enjoy a life of greener pastures here in Marin County.

Upcoming SparkPoint Orientations:

English

Monday, August 14                         12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 6              5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Spanish

Wednesday, August 23                    5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September                12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

 

To reach our Housing Advocate Leslie Klor,  email Sparkpoint.housing@gmail.com

To learn more about our other services or to register for an orientation session, please call (415) 526-7530 or email sparkpoint@camarin.org

[1] Shelley Hamilton, CEO MARINSPACE with assistance from Lee Pullen, Director of Aging & Adult Services, County of Marin. Aging Action Initiative; the first six months, April 2015, p. 3

 

Money Matters: A Place Called Home

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Saturday May 20, 2017 | 9:30 am – 12:00 pm | Free | Registration is recommended | Whistlestop | 930 Tamalpais Ave | San Rafael CA |

A Place Called Home: Making the Most of the One You Have and Finding One You Can Afford

About the Event

holding-houseThis is a FREE talk given by local experts to discuss the latest developments in home ownership and affordable housing. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend small group discussions from respected experts on the following topics:

 

  • Shared Housing and Accessory Dwelling Units
  • Affordable Housing and Section 8 
  • Reverse Mortgages, Rehab Loans and Below Market Rate Home Ownership

Breakfast included. To register, click here.

To download the flyer, click here.

Money Matters, part of the Aging Action Initiative (AAI), offers free information, resources and events to help you take action to address your financial future in Marin. AAI is a collective of aging service providers, funded by the County of Marin and coordinated by MARINSPACE, collaborating for an age-friendly environment.

SparkPoint Marin Provides Free Financial Coaching and Support Services

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February 22, 2017 | At SparkPoint Marin people can access a wide variety of services to help them achieve financial stability and prosperity.

A partner in the AAI Economic Security Workgroup, SparkPoint Marin helped plan and deliver the Finances 50+ workshops. The workshops were designed to help older adults understand how to make money go further, debt and how to manage it, and how to develop a budget and set goals.

SparkPoint Marin provides free financial coaching services and support in the following areas:

  • Money Management
  • Credit Counseling/Repair
  • Debt Management
  • Job Placement/Training
  • Career Development
  • Student Loan Counseling
  • Higher Education
  • Entrepreneurship Training
  • Business Development
  • Benefit Screenings & Application Assistance
  • Individual Development Accounts
  • Home Ownership
  • Housing Counseling
  • Tax Advocacy & Preparation
  • Food Pantry

Please feel free to distribute our General Flyer and New Member Orientation Schedule to community members who wish to obtain individualized money management support.

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SparkPoint is a program of the United Way to provide one-stop financial help and education to low-income residents. Clients can access a full range of free services and receive one-on-one coaching. Coaching includes a customized financial plan that focuses on increasing income, managing credit, and building assets. For more information click here.

Advocate for Increased SSI/SSP

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Help Marin join the statewide CA4SSI effort to lift SSI recipients out of poverty

We are gearing up to advocate for increasing SSI/SSP benefits again this year with the CA4SSI coalition. There are two important budget hearings coming up in March. Same as last year, we want to emphasize:

We are asking the CA Legislature to restore SSI/SSP grant cuts and the Cost of Living Adjustment. We are using this fact sheet to explain the context and outline our request.

If you would be willing to speak about the important role that SSI/SSP benefits play in your community, these hearings will be a really powerful place to share those stories during the open comment period.

Thursday March 2, 2017 | Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 on Health and Human Services

  • Members: Senator Pan (Chair), Senator Monning, Senator Stone. Although Senator McGuire is not on this subcommittee, he is on the Budget and Fiscal Review committee, so Marin has some influence.
  • Transportation: The hearing will start at 9:30am, but it is likely that they will be hearing about SSI at around noon. There is a bus being organized from San Francisco to leave at around 7:00am, so if you would like to come to this hearing, you could either meet the bus in San Francisco, or take your own transportation. We can help to facilitate carpooling.
  • Take Action: If we hear from a few of you that you’d like to come, we can work on setting up a meeting with Senator McGuire’s office that morning.

Wednesday March 15, 2017 | Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services

  • Members: Assemblymember Arambula (Chair), Senator. Harper, Senator Mathis, Senator Rubio, Senator Wood, Senator Ting (Alternate), Senator Obernolte (Alternate)
  • Transportation: This hearing will start at 2:30pm, and it’s expected that SSI/SSP will be the first topic that’s heard. Transportation will be organized.
  • Take Action: If we hear from a few of you that you’d like to come to this hearing, we can try to set up a meeting with Assemblymember Levine’s office.

To be in Action:
Contact Becky Gershon
Senior Policy & Advocacy Coordinator
bgershon@sfmfoodbank.org
(415) 282-1900 (x317)

About Aging Action Initiative
The purpose of the Aging Action Initiative is to promote a county-wide age-friendly environment, especially for those in need, collectively created by a strong network of aging service providers through public education, policy advocacy, and service coordination. The initiative is a collective effort of over 65 different agencies, grassroots organizations, commissions and neighborhood groups, funded by the County of Marin, and coordinated by MARINSPACE.