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BUSINESS SERVICES

Assets for Independence Project

APSS is organizing the Assets for Independence (AFI-Laredo) project with a number of partners. The project is expected to begin operations in mid-2014. AFI offers financial literacy training using the Money Smart curriculum developed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) at a convenient location and schedule. (For more information, see the EVENTS CALENDAR Page).

After completing the financial literacy training, low- and moderate-income households and individuals are offered the opportunity for to enroll in an Individual Development Account (IDA) plan where a participant saves an affordable amount each month towards a goal of (1) starting a business or (2) entering post-secondary education/training program. When a participant reaches the savings goal, the AFI-Laredo Project will match the savings with federal and non-federal funds in a pre-determined ratio. The funding package is then applied towards the costs of starting a business or advancing towards the education goal.

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IMMIGRATION SERVICES

As a Voluntary Agency recognized by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals, APSS offers assistance to individuals seeking benefits under immigration law at a nominal cost. The Immigration Services Accredited Representative prepares official documents and correspondence on behalf of clients and translates correspondence and other documents between English and Spanish. These include assisting individuals in filing citizenship applications, adjustment of status petitions for refugees and asylum applicants, and family reunification petitions for adjustment of status. The APSS Immigration Specialist has been actively working in the immigration field for five years and holds a degree in sociology from Texas State University.

Two special groups served by APSS Immigration Services are petitioners for immigration benefits under the provisions of the Violence against Women Act (VAWA), and the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival program for individuals brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 years.

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TAX PREPARATION SERVICES

APSS is an approved Electronic Return Originator (ERO) for E-filing of IRS Income Tax returns. With the services of a Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) on board, APSS has the capability of preparing IRS 1040 returns with all required schedules for individuals and small businesses. Income-eligible taxpayers will receive reduced rates for these services.

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ENTREPRENEURIAL SERVICES

A 12- to 15-week course in entrepreneurial development for low- and moderate-income members of Centro Aztlán is currently under development. Focusing on a step-by-step process where the prospective business owner is guided in preparing an effective business plan, the entrepreneurial development services will also include individual and small-group business consulting and assistance in developing an e-commerce strategy by featuring businesspersons, services and products in a special section of the APSS Centro Aztlán website.

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CONSORTIUM OF CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS

APSS serves as administrative agent for a consortium of Laredo-based nonprofit organizations who operate the Gambit Operators Partnership under the provisions of the Texas Charitable Bingo Act. Proceeds from bingo activities held at Gambit Bingo, 4925 Tesoro Plaza, (956) 724-1968, provide a much-needed source of funding to support the charitable purposes of the five nonprofit partners: the Laredo Regional Food Bank (LRFB); Azteca Economic Development & Preservation Corp. (AZTD); the Laredo International Fair & Exposition (LIFE), Villa San Luis Charitable Trust (VSL); and APSS. Bingo sessions are held every day in the evenings and on Wednesdays at noon. Join us at Gambit Bingo for fun, prizes, and supporting good causes in your community!

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TECHNICAL SUPPORT

Technical and organizational assistance is provided to community groups aiming to develop self-help projects. For example, APSS, in collaboration with other social service agencies, local churches and some private sector advocates, incorporated the Laredo Regional Food Bank (LRFB) to address the lack of an emergency food crisis relief mechanism in our area. Our organization provided management and bookkeeping services through 1988.

APSS supported the residents of the Azteca neighborhood in their fight against an eminent domain project, and then helped them organize the Azteca Economic Development and Preservation Corporation to carry out housing, preservation and revitalization activities in a low-income barrio (neighborhood). Moreover, APSS was actively involved in organizing a Neighborhood Housing Services program approved for Laredo, Texas. APSS promoted the development of a farm worker housing project in Webb County, funded by the Farmers Home Administration which is now administered by the Laredo Housing Authority.

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