Martin and Valerie Nielson moved into an apartment two weeks ago after spending five months homeless, living in a small car with their two infant daughters.
On Thursday, the couple welcomed Gov. Norm Bangerter into their new home to help promote the Homeless Trust Account checkoff on state income-tax forms, which made their move possible.The program provides an equivalent of two months paid rent for tenants. One month is paid by the landlord, while the deposit and another month's rent are covered by the community action program, which is a recipient of the checkoff funds.
The Nielsons moved into the Ashford Chase apartments, one of some 20 apartment complexes that participate in the Salt Lake Community Action housing outreach rental program.
"My wife and I feel better and better about our kids," Nielson said.
The 1988 Legislature established the homeless income-tax checkoff, which to date has taken in more than $562,000. The monies are direct donations added to the tax due on residents' income-tax forms. Taxpayers don't need to receive a refund in order to make the charitable contribution.
Some 41,200 Utahns donated a total of $307,489 to the homeless on their 1989 income-tax returns. The money matched by the Legislature went to shelters and food pantries across the state, transitional housing, self-sufficiency and employment efforts, and substance abuse and mental-health treatment.
Besides the homeless checkoff, there are three other special checkoffs on taxpayers' 1990 income-tax returns. They include:
- The Utah non-game wildlife fund uses donated funds for the management, preservation, protection and perpetuation of non-game wildlife species.
- The checkoff for the state Board of Regents will be used to help fund libraries and library equipment for public colleges and universities.
- Donations received from the school district foundation checkoff will be used to promote partnership activities between schools and communities, fund specific educational programs and provide grant opportunities for scientific, educational, literary and improvement objectives.