The City of San Antonio is partnering with a volunteer agency to help people experiencing homelessness or anyone who may not have a fixed address receive federal stimulus payments if they are eligible for them.

The recently signed American Rescue Plan Act includes stimulus payments up to $1,400 per individual, so the City’s Department of Human Services and VITA San Antonio (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) will assist unsheltered clients in filing their taxes and receiving stimulus funds.

People need to have filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return to receive a stimulus payment. Recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or veterans benefits also are eligible.

“The goal of the Department of Human Services is to connect human services programs with the people who most need them in our community,” Human Services Director Melody Woosley said. “Linking the long-established VITA program with our homeless outreach services boosts the reach of both programs to benefit those experiencing homelessness with direct cash assistance from the federal government, helping those residents meet basic needs with the goal of improving their housing stability.”

VITA staff will be onsite at the City of San Antonio’s Homeless Resource Hub at 319 W. Travis St. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-4 p.m. until at least April 15. People can also contact VITA online or by calling the United Way Helpline at 2-1-1.

City and VITA staff will also “work with homeless providers across the community to ensure individuals and families experiencing homelessness are aware of this opportunity,” according to a news release.

Even if a resident doesn’t have a bank account, they can receive the payment through a prepaid debit card. The City’s Financial Empowerment Center also can assist residents who want to open a bank account.

“The City of San Antonio, as the level of government closest to our residents, is committed to helping San Antonians navigate and connect with resources to improve their quality of life,” City Manager Erik Walsh said. “This is a great example of City programs working together to support the most vulnerable in our community, especially those experiencing homelessness.”

The Internal Revenue Service announced last month a statewide deadline extension (to June 15) for Texas residents and other tax relief. Typically, taxes are due on April 15 but the IRS this week extended the nationwide filing deadline for individuals to May 17.

VITA is an IRS-sponsored program that started more than 50 years ago. The San Antonio program, which is more than 10 years old, is operated by a coalition including the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, Catholic Charities, the City of San Antonio, and roughly 30 other organizations.

Iris Dimmick

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org