NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg Visits the Transfiguration Community

NEW YORK – Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg chose the Church of the Transfiguration in Queen’s Corona neighborhood to announce the success of one of his major anti-poverty initiatives. SaveUSA is a federal program modeled on an earlier Bloomberg initiative called $aveNYC. Eligible participants receive a 50 percent match if they deposit at least $200 of their tax refund into a SaveUSA account and maintain the deposit for one year. As part of is philanthropic and community outreach the parish hosts a Free Tax Prep center through April 15 run FoodBank For New York City. When people come to get their taxes done, they can sign up for SaveUSA. The tax preparers make sure they get all the tax benefits working poor are entitled too, especially the earned income credits.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and Center for Economic Opportunity Executive Director Veronica White today announced the results of the first year of SaveUSA, a multi-city program that encourages low-income residents to build savings. In its first year, participating residents of the four cities opened more than 1,600 SaveUSA accounts with close to $1 million in savings. In New York City, residents with an average income of $16,000 were able to build up $250,000 in savings. Eligible participants receive a 50 percent match if they deposit at least $200 of their tax refund into a SaveUSA account and maintain the deposit for one year. The program, which is based on the City’s successful tax-time savings program, $aveNYC, was expanded last year to three cities: Newark, San Antonio, and Tulsa. The matching funds are provided through a federal Social Innovation Fund grant awarded to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Center for Economic Opportunity. The Mayor made the announcement at one of the City’s sixty nine Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites, located at the Transfiguration of Christ Church in Corona, Queens. The Mayor was also joined by FoodBank For New York City President and CEO, Margaret Purvis and City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras.

“Filing your taxes can mean money back in your pocket, money that can be used to pay bills, spend in your community, or cover an unexpected expense,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “It can also mean the opportunity to start saving for a growing family or higher education. SaveUSA is a prime example of how our Center for Economic Opportunity is breaking new ground when it comes to fighting poverty. We encourage all New Yorkers who are eligible to sign up for a SaveUSA account at a participating free tax site.”

“It is of monumental importance for a Christian to serve his fellow human beings – most especially when serving in an impecunious area of New York City. Let us all then, brothers and sisters, offer our prayer, our time, and our love to those in need,” said Rev. George Anastasiou, Presiding Priest of the Transfiguration of Christ Church.

“Sometimes the difference between the person who rises out of poverty and the one who doesn’t is whether she or he has assets,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs. “New York City’s expanding SaveUSA program is a national model helping more and more New Yorkers – and Americans – save money and grow assets, a crucial component in reducing poverty and increasing self-sufficiency.”

“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and thanks to our Citywide EITC Coalition, eligible New Yorkers have collected nearly $20 billion in tax credit refunds since 2002. These dollars not only benefit New York families, but also our local economy,” said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “I encourage New Yorkers to go get every dollar of their refund by filing for free online, at one of the City’s sixty nine different free tax sites across the five boroughs, or with the City’s coupon at H&R Block locations for only $29 throughout the entire tax season; and I also encourage New Yorkers to save some of their refund to qualify for a 50 percent match through the SaveUSA program. Contact 311, visit, or watch our YouTube Tax Time video for more information.”

“For the last five years, the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment, and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City have been working together to help New Yorkers build assets and improve savings,” said Veronica M. White, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity. “With the support of the federal Social Innovation Fund and our philanthropic partners, we are now collaborating with cities across the country on SaveUSA and four other promising programs that have the potential to inform policy nationwide.”

“Today we highlight an important support, particularly for homeless families. The EITC can bring back several thousand dollars to a homeless family with children, which is savings they can set aside towards a month’s rent, furniture, or other needs as they strive to move back to the community,” said Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond. “This is a tremendous opportunity, and each and every one of our working families should take advantage of the City’s free and low-cost tax assistance sites to ensure they receive this valuable tax credit.”


“The EITC is one of the strongest tools in our arsenal to support hard working New Yorkers,” said Finance Commissioner David Frankel. “We strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to apply for this benefit.”

“The EITC is one of the nation’s most effective measures in the fight against poverty,” said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar. “It provides an incentive for people to move from welfare to work, and builds a foundation for self-sufficiency. For that reason we encourage anyone who qualifies to take advantage of the program, and we promote it to the New Yorkers we serve.”

“Providing thousands of New Yorkers with an opportunity to become more economically secure is a key strategy for the New York City Housing Authority,” said Housing Authority Chairman John B. Rhea. “It may all begin with a quality home, but it certainly doesn’t end there. We support the efforts of the Department of Consumer Affairs and all of our agency partners in making this very important tax assistance available to the city’s hard working families in public housing.”

“New York City government prides itself on ensuring straightforward access to information and services, and the EITC is among the very best examples of that promise” said Mayor’s Office of Operations Director Liz Weinstein. “Claiming your full refund and learning about the SaveUSA program is as simple as texting, calling or logging onto 311 – so we want to hear from you.”

“The Food Bank For New York City shares much excitement for EITC and SaveUSA. Not only are these programs serving individuals who need it most, they are serving the community. Tax benefits help struggling New Yorkers put food on the table while boosting the local economy to foster growth and job creation,” says Margarette Purvis, President & CEO, Food Bank For New York City.

“This creative and expanding program to SaveUSA accounts is a success that will help to build better futures and increase opportunities for those who participate and their families,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. “Here in Queens, my hope is that this SaveUSA site will be a very active one that attracts more applicants looking for an easier and simpler way to build a little nest egg for unexpected expenses and future plans. I thank Mayor Bloomberg for coming here today to focus attention on this important initiative.”

“Providing free tax preparation programs at VITA sites like the Transfiguration of Christ Greek Orthodox Church through the Food Bank for New York City is essential for many New Yorkers in this economy, especially those in my district,” said City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras. “SaveUSA is wonderful and much-needed program because it gives individuals who need it the most the chance to build wealth and improve their financial circumstances.”

Watch a Video of the Press Conference Here

Mayor Bloomberg is seen here together with Fr. George Anastasiou and Council Member Julissa Ferraras.

Mayor Bloomberg is seen here together with Fr. George Anastasiou and Council Member Julissa Ferraras.

Mayor Bloomberg is seen at the podium together  with Fr. George Anastasiou and Council Member Julissa Ferreras.

Mayor Bloomberg is seen at the podium together with Fr. George Anastasiou and Council Member Julissa Ferreras.


Fr. George Anastasiou is seen here together with NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras.

Fr. George Anastasiou is seen here together with NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras.



ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ. Ο δήμαρχος της Νέας Υόρκης Μάικλ Μπλούμπεργκ επισκέφθηκε την Κοινότητα της Μεταμορφώσεως του Σωτήρος στην Κορόνα, την Δευτέρα 30 Ιανουαρίου 2012.

Ο δήμαρχος, καθώς επίσης η δημοτικός σύμβουλος της Κορώνας Τζουλίσα Φερέρα και οι προϊστάμενοι των αρμόδιων υπηρεσιών, εξήραν το ενδιαφέρον της κοινότητας και του ιερατικώς προϊσταμένου, π. Γεωργίου Αναστασίου, για τα φιλανθρωπικά τους προγράμματα και την απόφαση του κοινοτικού συμβουλίου να θέσει την κοινοτική αίθουσα στη διάθεση του Δήμου για την υλοποίηση του προγράμματος «SaveUSA».

“Είναι υψίστης σημασίας για έναν Χριστιανό να διακονεί τους συνανθρώπους του, ειδικά όταν υπηρετεί σε περιοχές όπου ο ευρίσκονται αρκετά χαμηλόμισθοι ή άποροι συμπολίτες του. Ας προσευχηθούμε, λοιπόν, όλοι μαζί, αδέλφια, προσφέροντας παράλληλα τον χρόνο μας και προπαντώς την αγάπη μας σε όσους χρειάζονται την βοήθειά μας”, τόνισε ο π. Γεώργιος.

Βάσει αυτού του προγράμματος παρέχεται η δυνατότητα σε οικογένειες με εισόδημα έως και 18 χιλιάδων δολαρίων να ετοιμάσουν δωρεάν τη φορολογική δήλωση, να ενημερωθούν για τα προγράμματα που υπάρχουν για τους άπορους, για τα παιδιά και τις οικογένειες με χαμηλό εισόδημα.

Το πρόγραμμα, όπως επεσήμανε ο δήμαρχος, ξεκίνησε προ τεσσάρων ετών στη Νέα Υόρκη και αποτέλεσε πρότυπο για τρεις άλλους Δήμους και συγκεκριμένα για τον Δήμο του Νιούαρκ της Νέας Ιερσέης, του Σαν Αντόνιο και Τούλσα.

Οι οικογένειες που συμμετέχουν στο πρόγραμμα και καταθέτουν σε λογαριασμό «SaveUSA» περισσότερα από διακόσια δολάρια από την επιστροφή των φόρων και τα διατηρούν για έναν χρόνο επιδοτούνται με 50 σεντς για κάθε δολάριο που καταθέτουν στον λογαριασμό.

Μέχρι στιγμής, έχουν ανοιχτεί 1.600 παρόμοιοι λογαριασμοί, ενώ το ποσό που αποταμιεύτηκε αγγίζει το ένα εκατομμύριο δολάρια.

Ο δήμαρχος ανέφερε ότι για την υλοποίηση αυτού του προγράμματος δεν ξοδεύεται ούτε ένα δολάριο από τα χρήματα των φορολογουμένων και ότι το μεγαλύτερο μέρος των χρημάτων προέρχονται από τις συνεισφορές του ιδιωτικού τομέα.

Ο δήμαρχος επεσήμανε επίσης ότι το πρόγραμμα αυτό εντάσσεται στο πλαίσιο των γενικότερων προγραμμάτων του Δήμου για την καταπολέμηση της φτώχειας και ότι υπάρχουν και άλλα προγράμματα για δωρεάν είτε χαμηλού κόστους κατάρτισης και υποβολής των φορολογικών δηλώσεων.

Στο Δήμο της Νέας Υόρκης υπάρχουν 69 παρόμοια κέντρα συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του Κέντρου που φιλοξενείται στην κοινοτική αίθουσα της Μεταμορφώσεως του Σωτήρος στην Κορόνα.

Οι Νεοϋορκέζοι οι οποίοι έχουν παιδιά και το εισόδημά τους είναι λιγότερο από $50.000, είτε λιγότερο από $18.000 για αυτούς που δεν έχουν παιδιά, μπορεί να αποταθούν σε ένα από τα 69 εθελοντικά κέντρα που υπάρχουν στις πέντε κομητείες όπου εθελοντές ορκωτοί λογιστές θα ετοιμάσουν δωρεάν τις φορολογικές δηλώσεις.

Η δημοτικός σύμβουλος της Κορώνας, Τζουλίσα Φερέρα, είπε ότι πολλές οικογένειες στην Κορώνα δεν έχουν γνώση των προγραμμάτων που υπάρχουν και εξέφρασε την ευγνωμοσύνη προς τον π. Γεώργιο Αναστασίου και την κοινότητα της Μεταμορφώσεως του Σωτήρος για την ετοιμότητά τους και για το γεγονός ότι τους παραχώρησαν αυτή την τόσο ωραία αίθουσα.

Παράλληλα, τόνισε ότι οι συνεργάτες της θα αναλάβουν εκστρατεία ενημέρωσης των κατοίκων τόσο για το εν λόγω πρόγραμμα, όσο και για τα άλλα προγράμματα για τις άπορες οικογένειες και τα παιδιά.

Στη συνέντευξη παραβρέθηκε ο πρόεδρος της κοινότητας, Λεωνίδας Κοραχάης και άλλα στελέχη, ενώ η Φιλόπτωχος Αδελφότητα με επικεφαλής την κ. Βούλα Γκάνου παρέθεσε δεξίωση.

Τέλος, να σημειώσουμε ότι στη συνέντευξη παραβρέθηκαν πολλοί εκπρόσωποι των ηλεκτρονικών και έντυπων Μέσων Ενημέρωσης.

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