Settlement House American Rescue Plan (SHARP) Impact Study Wave 1 Brief

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The Study

NCCP contributed to the design and implementation of the Settlement House American Recovery Plan (SHARP) Impact Study, a mixed-method study of parents at New York City settlement houses from 2021-23, during the pandemic recovery period. The Study focused on access to the Expanded Child Tax Credit and other programs available through the ARP.

The Sample

  • More than half of these parents (56%) reported less than $25,000 in annual household income.
  • A high proportion were immigrant parents, with 58% reporting that they were born outside of the U.S.
  • All participants had at least one child under 17 years of age who was born in the U.S. (and thus were eligible for monthly benefits through the expanded Child Tax Credit in the latter half of 2021).

High-Level Findings of Wave 1

Uncertainty around eligibility was disproportionately high among immigrant groups, though most families had heard of the CTC and received payments:

  • Most families spent their CTC funds on food and other basic necessities.
    The top four categories of expenditures were food, clothing, rent, and utilities.
  • Monthly CTC payments came at a time when families were experiencing significant financial hardship. Of all survey respondents, 88 percent reported experiencing difficulty during the past month paying for basic needs like food, housing, medical care, and heating. In the previous six months, approximately 41 percent of families had postponed medical care to save money, and 81 percent cut back on food expenses to help make ends meet.
  • Receipt of CTC payments temporarily alleviated financial hardship. Nearly all (98 percent) families reported that the Child Tax Credit was somewhat or extremely helpful in meeting their monthly expenses.

Financial hardship was associated with psychological distress. Over half (52 percent) of respondents reported some level of anxiety and/or depression; these rates were highest among families experiencing significant financial challenges in the last six months.

For questions, contact Karen Chatfield at

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