tv NBC10 Issue NBC December 18, 2016 11:30am-12:01pm EST
starting now on nbc 10 at issue. it seems like the right thing to do, giving the homeless a few bucks when you pass them on the streets, especially during the holidays but the experts want you to stop it. we'll explain why. the big mistake many make when it comes to paying income taxes. it's a whopper that could cost a big chunk of your tax return. ♪ fly eagles fly on the road to victory ♪ >> win or lose, he is the ultimate fan, even so, the way he shows his love for the team may shock you a bit. you've got to see it to believe it. >> good morning, i'm rosemary
connors. we are faced with should we give money to people living on the street. it's hard to walk past without wanting to help during the holidays but organizations that support the homeless, say it may sound cold but don't do it. with me now is liz hurst, thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me here today. >> certainly your office has done tremendous work in terms of finding temporary and long-term housing for the homeless but you walk in philadelphia and doing holiday shopping and live there and work there and see people on the street asking for a handout. and it obviously pulls at your heart strings and you want to help. you're saying don't do it. >> we really prefer that people, if you want to do something right then and there, offer to buy a meal or stick around for a meal with a person if they are hungry. that's a great thing to do to work with them person to person. otherwise you never know really what you're giving money to and
anybody can make a card board sign. so we don't want people to feel cold hearted but we'd like to encourage you to work together with your faith community or church or mosque, synagogue, to be part of a not for profit doing work, like building together, habitat, providing services or serving meals or do something on your own to help people get the real services, employment, housing, help that they need. >> when you do hand out a few dollars, are people undermining the work that these organizations are doing? >> i don't think they are undermining it but it's not necessarily what's best for the individual. and it really doesn't connect them to any real long-term solutions. if it's someone who has an addiction, you know, certainly that money may be used for that
for drugs. you don't want to be cold hearted but we want people to come in to get warm and get what they need, if they really do need the services for mental health issue or an abuse, or substance use disorder, we want them to come in and get services they need. if they are not ready, providing meals to people in an indoor facility with dignity and safety, there's lots of places to do that. you can get that list on our website. if you want to help somebody figure out where to get help, any of those things that are real solutions, that's how you know you're not being hustled. when you're just giving money, you don't know what you're giving money to or what the money is going to be used for. >> i think a lot of people may have a difficult time when they see somebody on the street and they want to help but may not want to give money for the reasons you just mentioned but don't want to keep walking and ignore them. what's your recommendation about talking to the homeless people in our community? >> homeless people are people,
right? so sometimes they can become dehumanized to us, they are down on the ground or may be dirty because they may not be able to bathe. but what people who have come out of homelessness have gotten the help they need tell us is that the human touch really makes a difference to them. being regarded as people, having people know their name, their story, all of those things really make a difference to them. anything that humanizes the situation. these are people who, you know, everything has failed them in their lives, you know. may have started out with school or have a mental illness, you know, any of the deep poverty, it may be generational poverty, but really the deck has been stacked against them and not that they are absolved of responsibility but the road back is to recovery really starts with the human touch. >> those conversations certainly
can lead to how can i help you? what about this service or this organization? >> that's right. there's a great little resource on the project home website called where to turn. it has all of the service organizations, places where people can get meals and all of those things, a lot of people i know who encounter people experiencing homelessness carry that so they may be able to offer a recommendation. so yeah, that really can help. and i just can't underestimate -- overstate the value of volunteering, getting involved with your faith based community or charitable organization. those organizations work really hard to raise money and always need people and always need fundraisers. even a little bit can go a long way. >> you recommend instead of handing out money, maybe offering someone to come for a meal with you, taking them out for a meal, buying them a meal.
what about giving them clothing and blankets and that kind of thing as the weather gets dangerously cold this time of year? >> we prefer that people come in. that if at all possible, that they come inside. sometimes they don't want to. they may have had a bad experience or may be fearful, who knows. we all carry our baggage around with us but really we would like them to come in. one thing anybody can do, call the homeless outreach line. they know many of the people on the streets and they see them on a daily basis and encourage them to come in. that number is 215-232-1984. really you can't call too often. i call on a daily basis if i see someone in shorts sleeves or shorts or something that you know that it's just not right, and during curb blue, any time the weather is below 20 degrees fahrenheit, the windchill, the police can also transport.
we like to rely on the homeless outreach that's -- >> sure. >> they have a relationship. >> and it's the direct line really to get people out there. >> exactly. it's very effective. they have a good success rate in getting people to come in. if you're unkcomfortable or dont know what to expect, calling outreach can be a solution. >> can people call the police or 911? >> you can call 911. we really encourage you to call homeless outreach first. if you see a crime being committed or someone you think is violent, usually that's not the people who are homeless, they tend to be the lambs not the wolves and they are preyed upon by the predators out there. but if you see someone who is behaving in a way that you think is dangerous, if you see a crime, that's when you call 911. the police department does have a special unit called the service detail and these are a small group of police officers who are trained and they are really their job is to work with
the homeless people. but we really suggest unless it's a crime or a fear -- or you really are scared for your own well being, that you call the homeless outreach hot line. >> liz, in terms of the state of homelessness in philadelphia, where does it stand? >> well, as you've said we've made a lot of progress. we have 12,000 units and beds and a variety of ways within our system. so we're providing a lot of services and a lot of housing to people but it's not enough. i think we have a size large problem and size medium system. so we really need -- we need more housing for people. that's the bottom line here, rosemary. if you're housed you're not homeless. we do believe in the cities that have made great progress in the state's housing first, housing first. impossible to imagine recovery from an addiction, a mental health regimen and getting a job and going to work every day, how
do you do that if you don't have a place to live first. >> and place to call home. >> place to call home. we saw this over the dnc, we did a res pit center where people could come in for a few weeks and being really be cared for and we saw a tremendous recovery rate, once they were able to shower and get their clothes cleaned and get medical care, they relaxed and then they were able to start to think about the future. so we know what works and what's really frustrating and why we really encourage people to get involved is when we get people into homes, especially with the services they need, we have an 88 to 98% success rate in preventing a return to homelessness. it's a solvable problem and it breaks our hearts to see human cost and what the rest of society pays. police, emergency rooms, suffering, all of that, when we
really do know what works. >> certainly as you said, part of this is you need more housing and need more funding. is it also difficult to get some people off the streets? >> sometimes. sometimes it takes a while. we have our power stayers on the streets for a long time. you know how after you fail at something or something goes wrong you don't want to go back again. we don't know everything has happened in people's history. so sometimes it is hard for people to come in. but little by little, usually especially if we have a place to live at the end of the rainbow, that is the -- that's the magic, that's the secret sauce that helps people come in. >> liz hearst, thanks for coming in. >> coming up next on "nbc 10 @ issue." most of us look forward to every penny of our tax refund but some of us won't get back as much as we owed. when we come right back.
many of us will soon be filing our federal income taxes and waiting for our refund. as tempting as it seems, getting your money fast could cost you big bucks. joining me now. deputy commissioner, marissa waxman. >> thanks, rosemary. >> tell us about the refund advance loan and why you advise against it? >> it is exactly that, a loan. it's not the refund you're getting directly from the irs. you might be going to a paid preparer who before that refund shows up, i'll loan you money until it gets there to tide you over. they are not doing that for free. they are hefty fees and you could pay up to 40% of the refund amount to get your money a little quicker. we don't want folks missing out. >> certainly people think this is a good thing because they can get their money or hands on some
cash quickly. but in terms of your refund from the federal government, that actually turn around pretty quickly. >> it does come pretty fast. this year, you can start filing your taxes in january and by mid february the refunds start coming out. there isn't a lot of time lag and if you're using direct deposit where they put it in your bank account, the turnaround and fast and secure and it will be there for you and you can plan on it. >> it's like i check your bank account and there it is. >> boom. >> nice surprise on a tuesday morning. >> yeah, there's actually some tax refunds that philadelphians like the earned income tax credit, where the average refund is $2500, serious real money that be can be showing up in your bank account. >> who is eligible for this? >> the earned income tax credit for individuals and family who have income from working, earned income and there are income guidelines from that. making up to $54,000, should look into it. because they might be eligible. it does depend on the number of
kids and actual salary. but you don't have to have kids to be eligible for this. and the refunds the maximum is over $6,000. >> this is real money as you said. >> real money and it shows up, not a deduction or credit. this is cash. important thing is if you maybe were entitled for the past couple of years and didn't claim it, you can go backwards up to three years. average refund of $2300, three years prior, $10,000 if you haven't been filing for this and you don't need to pay a paid preparer and extra fees. the city is making sure free tax preparation is available for folks. >> if you're doing your taxes at home or get your hands on free tax prep work, how do you go about doing this in terms of finding out if you're eligible for the earned income tax credit? what's the paperwork involved? >> it's pretty minimal. we recommend folks come out to a tax prep center. we'll have more than a dozen and we'll do it for you with irs certified preparers. extremely high accuracy rates,
takes about 45 minutes, you'll walk out of there knowing it's been filed correctly on time with the full refund you anticipated you're expecting and that's what you should do. there's no reason you have to become a cpa or do it yourself. we have free tax prep centers and you can find them by looking on the website, www.youearneditphilly.com or by calling, we'll let you know when one is opening up near you. >> you're a deputy commissioner with the city of philadelphia, but what about folks outside of the city? >> there are resources throughout our region. we've partnered with united way helping to support the activities throughout south jersey and philadelphia suburbs, there are resources out there. and also, folks can file for free through the irs for folks meeting certain income limits. you don't need to pay, it will guide you through whether you're doing it online. >> the earned income tax credit, not just for people in
philadelphia -- >> everybody could potentially be eligible for it. >> one of the reasons it's so important in philadelphia to talk about this, there's 200,000 philadelphians eligible, 40,000 have missed out. $100 million left on the table that should be coming into philadelphia. and that's one of the reasons why even though this is a federal program, the city is really committed to making sure that people get the message. >> soon you'll be seeing ads on septa, social media, pan dora, because we want folks to know you're eligible for this. check it out. it doesn't have to be hard. >> as you mentioned in terms of the tax prep site throughout the city, you'll have irs certified tax preparers, people who are going out there on their own, that's something you recommendation they look into as well. >> you want to make sure somebody who is doing your taxes for you has the facts and understands what it is, it's complicated. nobody loves doing taxes.
even i sometimes go wow, you don't say. we know it's not easy. making this as easy as possible for folks to get through the process and make sure we'll have language access to information on the website in multiple languages and have your taxes done in multiple languages. whatever is easier for you. >> any advice or recommendations, something that people miss that we should be letting them know? >> make sure you have all of the right documents, go on the website to see what you need. most importantly, check out the website at you earned it philly.com you'll get a send of what sort of refund and how you can get it quickly and easily. >> nothing worse than showing up to get taxes done and you're missing something you wish you had. >> right, that's the key thing, you have to get the pieces of paper together and we'll take care of everything else at our tax prep centers. >> thanks, rosemary.
♪ fly eagles fly on the road to victory ♪ >> next on "nbc 10 @ issue." the ultimate eagles fan. has he taken his love for the birds too far? you can decide when you meet him in just minutes. hello, peco. so i'm calling to see if you can help me save on my energy bill. we can do that. great. i live in a post-war, pre-war, mid-century home and the heating system is a turbine, hvac, reverse hydrogen, boiler pipe unit.
well sir, i can see that you live in a twin and based on the size, your usage has been spiking. ♪ that's exactly what i thought. if you're not an expert, peco can help. we have lots of ways to help you save energy and money. peco. the future is on. >> a diet rich in healthy nutrients such as berries and wholegrain bread and vegetables and fish will strengthen your immune system and support your body's national defense mechanism. to learn more about navigating your cancer care, visit penn medicine.org/canc medicine.org/cancer.
the birds are on the road today playing the ravens in baltimore. that means many fans will watch today's game this afternoon from the comfort of their couch. when it comes to watching from home, almost nobody can compete with a local super fan. >> i'm barry the hatchet and i've been a die-hard philadelphia eagles fan for 62 years. oh, my goodness, i'm old. ♪ that's how i got started being a philadelphia eagles fan. dad was a big eagles fan.
i'm a little bit crazier. one night as i was sleeping and laying in bed i couldn't sleep. and i came up with a brain storm, i wonder if dawn, my lovely wife, i wonder if she would go along with an idea to build an addition on to my home to dedicate to my philadelphia eagles. i was ready for a right hook but she looked at me and said if that's what you want to do, hon, i'm with you 100%. let's do it. well, we did it and i think i did it pretty good. i don't know if we can get a look at that, good shot of the toilet. to show my love and pure passion love for the stinking dallas cowboys fans, i had -- sweet sound. isn't that a sweet sound. we have rules here in the locker room. you have to be an eagles fan.
here's my bar, 35-feet long bar. when you're here, and the hatchet locker room in reading, pennsylvania, there's not a feeling like being a philadelphia eagles fan. the place is the bomb. okay, let's just say that the eagle s driving and in the red zone. the hatchet comes over here and i give you a little bit of this. ♪ and then we get into the touchdown and score a touchdown and hatchet explodes and the place goes crazy! and i do sound effects. [ honking ] [ sirens ] ♪ fly eagles fly on the road to victory ♪
>> and just in case you're wondering, he got his nickname from his younger brother dave. barry said dave called him the hatchet after he saw him take down an opposing player on the basketball court and the name just stuck. coming up next, tomorrow is the busiest day of the year for something holiday related, can you guess what it is? find out if you're right when we come back.
get ready, if you're sending cards and gifts this holiday season, according to the u.s. postal service, tomorrow is the busiest mailing day of the entire year for greeting cards and packages and most of it will be delivered on thursday, the busiest delivery day of the year. to avoid a shipping glitch, the post office says remove batteries from toys an never get
the zip code, include to and from information on packages and only on one side and select a box that's strong enough to protect the contents. priority mail and priority express boxes are free at the local post office. >> we'll leave you with this. there's a place in philly where you can get your coffee and cat fix in one place. the kitty cafe is one of the the first cat cafes, lattes and tea and gourmet food and alongside cuddles with adoptable cats. they adopt from the nearby animal shelters and some pat rons wind up going home with homeless cats. more than 50 cats have been adopted since this summer. you can learn more about the cafe right now on nbc 10.com. that's it for this edition of "nbc 10 @ issue." you can join me every saturday morning beginning at 5:00 and sunday starting at 5:30 a.m. have a great sunday.
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