Taxes and a Helping Hand

Many people across the U.S. find the process of filing taxes confusing and time-consuming. For Emerald City Commons and Columbia City Station residents, many of whom are new immigrants with language barriers from East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin countries, the thought of completing taxes for the first time is a daunting feat. This is where staff like Resident Services Coordinator Ikran Abdullahi help strengthen connections between residents and their new home. “Many of our residents are escaping political strife back home or they immigrated to the United States seeking better opportunities for their families,” said Ikran. “My job is to help them navigate the system, removing barriers where I can, and setting them up to succeed as they make Mercy Housing and Seattle home.” With services and programming focused on health, wellness, childcare, rental assistance, and job placement, Ikran does that and more.

During tax season, work becomes about helping those who are new to the process. Bringing in outside tax professionals and community organizations focused on tax assistance to ensure residents access the tax credits for which they may qualify, the Resident Services team diligently works to ensure every resident files a return.

“Most residents get a refund. Ingrained in the cultures of our immigrant communities is a strong desire to save for the future or to help family
members back home,” said Ikran. When those checks arrive, “people are so appreciative and thankful to have had someone walking beside them. As someone who was once new to this country, I understand the challenges before them. I think coming from a place of a shared lived experience helps me do my job better.”