RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Advocates for the homeless said housing insecurity is a real problem in Wake County. “Our homeless population is growing like our general population is growing and it’s diverse, ” said Alice Lutz, CEO of Triangle Family Services.
It’s a non-profit organization in Raleigh that started in 1937. The agency focuses on family safety, financial stability, and mental health.
They also work with the homeless population in Wake County. Lutz said some are living in tent cities and encampments. She said for some people it’s by choice, others by unfortunate circumstances.
Lutz said a $1,400 check could be the start to a fresh start. “The stimulus check is a really important piece to have to help provide stability for a long period of time for some of these residents.”
If home is out on the streets without television, internet, or a computer how will they get the information they need to help get their stimulus checks? That’s where Triangle Family Services steps in.
“We have a street outreach team that physically goes out into the street and physically meets people where they are in their homeless encampments as well as on the streets. The whole purpose is to find out what their needs are and get their needs met,” explained Lutz.
But there are still a few barriers that this team is working out.
Last year the IRS recommended that people experiencing homelessness could qualify for a stimulus check by using the non-filers tool, but it has since been removed.
According to the IRS without the portal, you must file your 2020 taxes to claim your stimulus money.
This also goes for the first and second payments if you haven’t received it by now.
You’ll also need a mailing address, which is difficult when you don’t have a home.
“If you’re living in a homeless encampment you don’t have an address. So, we work with the Women’s Center in Wake County and Oak City Cares to have the facilities for mailing. So, then we can have a permanent address for the clients,” continued Lutz.
She said they are also working with banks. “There are banks that are working with the homeless population to help us get access to not having to have a checking account.”
The IRS is also issuing prepaid debit cards called the Economic Impact Payment card for those who may not have access to a checking account.