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Tax services available at Mid-Kansas CAP office in Marion

Staff writer

After being closed since October, the Marion office of the Mid-Kansas Community Action Program will re-open next week.

Lesley Stansbury, who is replacing Lynn Unruh, will be available Thursdays and Fridays to provide tax services. Appointments may be made by calling (316) 283-3850.

Customers will be assisted in applying for the earned income tax credit. They also will receive counseling to encourage investing the money received because of the tax credit.

The income limit to qualify for this service is $45,000 per year.

In 2010, the Marion County Mid-KS CAP served 78 people from 41 families. The agency helped to complete 54 tax returns. The filers received a total of $56,315 in federal and state tax credits.

Four unemployed people obtained jobs after assistance with resumes, referrals, and interview tips.

Two customers received an increase in income or benefits, two obtained post secondary education, and one obtained safe, affordable housing.

CAP history

At the interagency meeting Friday in Marion, Mid-KS CAP coordinator Marion Nichols talked about the agency. She said it was established through the Equal Opportunities Act passed in 1964 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program.

Mid-Kansas CAP originally covered three counties. In 1998, it was expanded to cover 13 counties.

In addition to tax services, the agency provides individuals with assistance in applying for jobs and for educational financial aid. CAP also educates customers about budgeting and other financial skills.

Sometimes the agency provides assistance with transportation needs such as money to repair work vehicles. Workshops are designed to teach parenting and nutrition.

Mid-Kansas CAP works with the Financial Aid Task Force in Marion County to meet emergency needs in the community.

According to Robert Carlton, interagency chairman, the needs in Marion County are great and many are heart-wrenching. At least two requests for assistance are received every week, he said.

He cited a recent example of a family with two children — a 10- and a 16-year-old — that was about to be evicted from their home because they could not pay the rent. Funds were found to assist the family.

Linda Ogden, director of Families and Communities Together, said the amount of financial assistance provided through FACT in 2010 was miraculous.

“It was almost like the loaves and fishes,” she said. “I don’t know how we did it.”

She noted that enough money came in to provide approximately $10,000 in emergency aid. The money included $3,000 in flex funds through Prairie View and donations from businesses and individuals.

Ogden said one individual sends her $25 for the financial aid fund every month. “We’ve become pen pals,” she said.

Contributions may be sent to FACT, 812 E A St, Hillsboro KS 67063.

Last modified Jan. 20, 2011

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