Dr. Michael Hole and Social Innovation Addressing Child Poverty in Central Texas

Published:
December 1, 2017
StreetCred

What is StreetCred?

StreetCred is a national non-profit organization seeking to improve the health and future of children growing up in poverty by providing free tax preparation and financial literacy services in pediatric hospitals and clinics. StreetCred (mystreetcred.org) was co-founded in Boston by pediatrician and new University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and LBJ School of Public Affairs faculty, Michael Hole, MD, MBA. Dr. Hole is also a 2016 Forbes 30 under 30 for social entrepreneurship because of his innovative work through StreetCred.

Mike Hole

As a pediatrician in Boston, Dr. Hole saw first-hand the impacts of poverty on child health and well-being, but he also saw the physical barriers families faced connecting to existing resources that would help them the most. He had a lightbulb moment – to maximize the time that his patients’ families were already spending in waiting rooms and during appointments. The result was StreetCred, with the goal of being a one-stop shop of anti-poverty tools.

Today, by the time parents leave the pediatrician’s office, with StreetCred’s help, they’ve filed taxes and refund money is on the way. StreetCred also now helps families apply for SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), Head Start, and FAFSA, and are planning to expand to help with setting up savings accounts and applying for housing subsidies, child support, and health insurance – all before exiting the building.

StreetCred is now in Austin??

Yes! Dr. Hole brought StreetCred to Austin and partnered with Foundation Communities and the People’s Community Clinic in northeast Austin. He is currently establishing the StreetCred program, as well as a new University of Texas-based social innovation initiative to address children’s health-related social needs in Austin and Central Texas. Read more (PDF).

How can I help?

StreetCred is seeking volunteers now for the 2018 tax season. No previous tax preparation is necessary! You can make a direct impact as a volunteer Tax Preparer, Client Liaison, or Translator (Spanish). With your help, families will be able to receive much needed tax refunds and credits by filing their tax returns on-site during their child’s appointment at the People’s Community Clinic. Volunteer Tax Preparers complete 8 hours of classroom training. Client Liaisons and Translators complete 2 hours of online training.

Tax Preparer: Work directly with families to file their taxes. You’ll ensure they get the right credits and deductions.

Client Liaison: Welcome clients and screen them for eligibility.

Translator: Serve as a translator for the many clients who speak only Spanish.

What is the time commitment?

The tax season is 4 months, mid-January to mid-April. StreetCred asks volunteers to sign-up for once weekly shifts (or twice every two weeks) for about 4 hours each time. Each volunteer will be trained before the mid-January start. Volunteer Tax Preparers complete 8 hours of classroom training. Client Liaisons and Translators complete 2 hours of online training.

Where would I volunteer?

StreetCred’s Austin pilot site is at the People’s Community Clinic in northeast Austin, located at 1101 Camino La Costa, Austin, TX 78752 (Google Map).

I want to help! How do I sign-up?

Online volunteer sign-up is completed through StreetCred’s local partner Foundation Communities:

  1. Go to: Community Tax Centers – Application Form (or http://bit.ly/streetcred_taxes)
  2. Register a username
  3. Fill out the 2-page application form. When you come to “Affiliation” on the second page, make sure to type “StreetCred” in the box next to the following prompt: “If you’re a member of another group, please name”. This will indicate that you will be volunteering at the StreetCred site at the People’s Community Clinic (vs. another Foundation Communities site).

Questions?

Please contact the Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at chasp@austin.utexas.edu. Keep in touch by signing up for the CHASP email list.

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